Friday, September 16, 2011

Family Medicine: Learning from Popeye the Sailor

200 Cartoons it says on the cover of the DVD set.  OK, I start watching black and white Betty Boop cartoons.  Betty sings a lot.  Each episode is short and sweet, like her dog Pudgy.  Lessons are learned by watching Betty and listening for the punchline of each story.

Popeye the Sailor is next on the DVD.  I ask number one son if he would like to watch a Popeye the Sailorman cartoon with me.  He says no, Popeye is always outwitted by Bluto initially in trying to win the affections of (or to kidnap) Olive Oil until Popeye gets some spinach and knocks him out.  I wonder how he remembers the story lines of the cartoons of his early childhood.  I watch about ten more Popeye cartoons, escaping the entire world in the process.  My son was right.  They all featured the courting triangle of Popeye, Olive Oil and Bluto.  Popeye always wins once spinach arrives.

So what's your spinach when adversity strikes (and what's mine?) ? 

For my specialty of Family Medicine, Bluto is the Medical Industrial Complex, Popeye is obviously the Family Physician and Olive Oil is our patients.  What is the spinach that will help the Family Physician to save the patient from the Medical Industrial Complex, enabling us both to survive with a meaningful relationship?

Could it be a winning lottery ticket?  Direct Primary Care?  Employers of our patients?  Public Health Systems with Community Health Centers?  Hospitals (not)?  Religious institutions who develop health systems for their members (parrish nurses, etc.)? Insurance companies (not)?  Universities and other educational systems?

What spinach is going to help health care to make the right transition from the family medicine  and patient perspective?

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