nudge, nudge, wink, wink

October 20, 2017

Richard Thaler recently won the Nobel for Economic Sciences for his contributions to the field of Behavioural Economics (an amalgam of Economics and Psychology).   While it was for numerous works, I enjoyed his book on libertarian paternalism more commonly known as nudge theory (Nudge:  Improving Health, Wealth, and Happiness).  Moreover, he had a cameo in the Oscar-nominated film I liked called The Big Short (based also on a book) –  while intellectually I agree with the hot-hand fallacy as a former basketball player I can’t deny the boost of confidence this gave me.

I think everyone running for public life (or already in it) will be well-served to read it.  Hopefully, I can apply some of the teachings to my own life.

Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz were previously nominated by the committee for economics.  I wonder which author I read will be next?

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closing time

October 18, 2017

technically the Repatriation Hospital didn’t close down today but it was my last day at the free student physical therapy clinic.  I wasn’t really that sentimental before but I’m feeling a bit sad.  Maybe since I spent several years there and was so used to the caring people there or maybe because I’ve been more in tune with my emotions since nearly a decade of  living with an ABI.  Regardless, it was probably a combination of these factors.

More than my very slow improvements, I’m more of a homebody but it was a weekly “excuse” to get out of the house.  I’m not very big on socialisation but it felt good to be around other people who truly understood the challenges of daily life and the “simple” acts most people don’t give much thought to but are difficult for us.  It was never about commiseration but having a shared experience.

Many thanks to Dino for the rides; to Sandy and the other girls at Reception; the Physios in charge and the students assigned to me (hopefully you learned a lot from me as I did from you).

Rehabilitation is so much more than “mending” the body.

worse for wear

October 10, 2017

i won’t lie – I’m bit upset.  Just came from my NeuroPhysio and although my Scale for the Assessment and Rating of Ataxia (SARA) test wasn’t too bad it was the first time I can recall it getting worse. This coupled with my recent falls (of which I rarely did), the return of what seems like the “shaking” of my hands, and my recent battles with anxiety is genuinely concerning to me.

She agrees that it would have been much worse if not for my exercising daily (and I have to do “quite a few”). Improvements have always been unrealistic – our goal was always keeping it from getting worse.  Because the doctors still can’t identify it, there is no timeline I can refer to – it may go downhill rather quickly at any time like it did at the onset before it “stabilsed”.  She gave me additional exercises to see if these help.

I’m naturally pessimistic but stubborn.  It’s not my nature and was raised not to wallow but have learned that I can’t keep everything bottled in like I usually do.  I think I’ve got the right to feel overwhelmed sometimes.  I felt afraid so I cried.  It was cathartic and necessary for me to move on.

(dis)like

August 28, 2017

at first, I thought divisiveness was only a by-product of politics and the news media.   Some of us exhibit confirmation bias and (often unknowingly) we seek out echo chambers consistent with our point of view.  Recently, I’ve read a book contrary to some of my inclinations.  That said, it’s constructive to actively listen to counter-arguments. It’s our task to convince and not talk-over someone -my experience is that making people feel dumb or pointing-out that they’ve got “silly” ideas is counter-productive.  As the adage goes, you can disagree without being disagreeable. I’ve always believed you can learn from anyone:  what to do and what not to do.  I subscribe to von Bismark’s thoughts on arguing.  I’m open to hearing differing opinions but still have a ways to go.

I “stumbled” on this segment also calling for “openness” when it comes to literature choices:

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/problem-liking-things-find-relatable/

running in place (2)

June 29, 2017

another reason I exercise daily is so that I can propel myself further when the wheelchair is equiped with rim grips and so I can open ‘heavy’ doors (especially for the toilet) independently.  I usually have a light lunch to help keep my weight in check(because I indulge occasionally in tasty food) so I can ‘easily’ push myself with a walker, to help reduce the injury when I sometimes fall, and make it ‘easier’ for the person pushing (or infrequently lifting) me on a wheelchair (if I can’t roll myself).

running in place

June 28, 2017

sometimes treading water is the ‘best’ option albeit somewhat frustrating (we can’t always be running towards or running away from something as comedian Wil Anderson deftly puts it).  Next week, I resume seeing Physio students weekly.  I do this and see a NeuroPhysicalTherapist about once a month to help prevent further decline.  Moreover, I exercise daily (except when I’m not well) to maintain my health and to increase my endorphins as I now have to stay home (whereas I used to hold at least two jobs before my ABI).  I’m now working on a doctorate to help pass the time and keep my mind occupied.  Furthermore, I take certain supplements to help boost my health as no medication can be prescribed to me.

Sure there are days (more infrequent now after all these years) when I don’t feel like doing much but force of habit can be of great benefit at these times.  I don’t want to wallow in self-pity or play the disability card but the sad reality is most of society (even in this day and age) only understands when these are emphasised.  On one hand, we need to show empowerment and focus on what we can do; on the other, we need to show vulnerability (this is especially hard for me given my nature and the manner in which I was raised).   Good thing my wife and son are generally ‘happy’ and complement me and act as a foil to my inherent negativity.  In short, achieving balance is tricky and I don’t pretend to always get it right but I try my darnedest (as by default I have always done this).

Aligning what was expected of me and my current situation is a real challenge. I’m on the road to acceptance but still have a ways to go.

strange bedfellows

March 20, 2017

they recently showed the Theory of Everything on free-to-air tv.  While Stephen Hawking is an inspirational figure, he’s not necessarily aspirational for me.  I’m nowhere near as smart.  We need people we can relate to.  I accomplish things because I’m not dumb and work really hard.

I know Dr. Stephen Strange is fictional but I could weirdly relate more to the film Doctor Strange.  I’m not a surgeon but I guess it had to do with embracing the unexplainable despite bring logical.

Strangely enough in the movie Logan, I could relate to both Professor X and Wolverine –   this was the first time I saw myself in two characters.  Maybe it was their “fall from grace” so atypical of a superhero flick or maybe it’s because I’m such a comic book nerd.

Regardless, we’re all different, relate to certain things, and process things at our own pace.  Despite people’s insistence, a single, magic, silver bullet  “solution” doesn’t always exist.  Some issues are divergent or require multiple things acting in harmony.  Narrowing it to one thing would be great but that isn’t always possible.