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A medical day

May 29, 2013

Just a health warning (sic): this is a reflection of day of personal medical experience with a brief mention of some potential SenseMaker projects.  So if you are looking for insight into Cynefin, sense-making, narrative or whatever skip this one!   I’ll focus on something less personal tomorrow.

Its’ odd how the personal and work aspects of life sometimes come together.  In my case I wish they hadn’t but I am now working on what will be a series of health and well being projects and everyone wants to include diabetes in the their programme.  Now having personal experience can help gain perspective but I would have preferred to avoid it!  Being treated as an object rather than a subject is something I knew about in theory but to realise you are being processed is a different matter altogether. At the moment my general view is Doctors good, Nurses please don’t patronise me but I expect that will change over time.  Whatever its giving me a really good perspective on what is needed and not needed during early stage post diagnosis.

So for those interested I am working on three potential patient journey projects using SenseMaker, one part of a wider partnership with a leading US Medical School to develop a whole series of products for Heath and Well Being so expect a few blog posts that report on both the business and the personal over the next year.  On the personal front I had had the embarrassing experience earlier today.  I went into the service station next to the Days Inn that was my bed for the night post Hay-on-Wye and suddenly realised that a pair of trousers that used to stay up without a belt no longer did so.  So good news, the extreme diet is working after only three weeks; bad news I may put a few people off their full English breakfast.  Mind you for those of us having to learn to endure oatmeal there is a certain frisson of pleasure if that was the case.

The afternoon was spent in Exeter with both medical and NGO sectors talking about a possible UK Diabetes prevention programme.  Lots of excitement about the ability of SenseMaker to scale in comparison with normal research methods and to provide advocacy.   Then it was a long slog up the motorway to the hospital in Bristol for an MRI scan.   I was referred for what they thought was a trapped nerve (and probably still is) and the consultant decided to check out diabetes as the same time.  Probably a good job he did as otherwise it would have been a year before another routine check.

Now of the trouser incident was bad enough, the MRI scan was a total nightmare.   I am partially claustrophobic so I was expecting it to be difficult, but I had no idea just how closed in it would be.  I pressed the bulb twice until the threat of sedation got me into a state where I would endure.  Changing the music from Beethoven to Jonny Cash seemed to help.  Not sure why, but it did.

The process thing hit again.  I had forgotten that I couldn’t wear anything with metal so I ended up in two hospital gowns – a form of clothing designed to maximise humiliation.  But again that is minor really.   The waiting room for MRI scans is a depressing place.  I remember the experience of sitting by both my parents when their cancer was being diagnosed and there were too many others going through the same experience.  I suppose it puts something that is manageable, possibly reversible into perspective.

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The Cynefin Company (formerly known as Cognitive Edge) was founded in 2005 by Dave Snowden. We believe in praxis and focus on building methods, tools and capability that apply the wisdom from Complex Adaptive Systems theory and other scientific disciplines in social systems. We are the world leader in developing management approaches (in society, government and industry) that empower organisations to absorb uncertainty, detect weak signals to enable sense-making in complex systems, act on the rich data, create resilience and, ultimately, thrive in a complex world.
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