Tag Archives: McKenzie K.

Glossary Building

Given this week’s topic about honoring choices in death, I thought I would take the opportunity to expand our personal glossaries by including a few words surrounding this topic.

ad·vance di·rec·tive
noun
  1. a written statement of a person’s wishes regarding medical treatment, often including a living will, made to ensure those wishes are carried out should the person be unable to communicate them to a doctor.
pow·er of at·tor·ney
noun

LAW
  1. the authority to act for another person in specified or all legal or financial matters.
    • a legal document giving power of attorney to someone.

     

health care agent:  A health care agent is a person you choose in advance to make health care decisions for you in the event that you become unable to do so. … A health care agent also may be called a health care proxy or surrogate or an attorney-in-fact.

http://www.webmd.com/health-insurance/tc/choosing-a-health-care-agent-topic-overview

When preparing a will or advance directive, I feel it is important to know what exactly they are and what they entail, as well as understanding that there are other people you will have to involve in these decisions. Deciding who you want and what roles you want them to play in your choices are extremely important.

 

 

Honoring Choices Challenge

I have been extremely fortunate thus far in my life that I have not had to experience the loss of a close loved one, touch wood. While I have watched those close to me experience loss, I myself have not had to go through grief; other than a couple of family pets. I have always understood mortality and though it can be hard to come to terms with, it is simply a fact of life. I have always considered my own wishes when it comes to death and the traditions that come along with it, however it has always been very hard for me to accept the fact that the ones I love will have their time as well. I decided to discuss this with my boyfriend because I feel that if we are choosing to spend our lives together, I should know his own wishes.

I have a tendency to be blunt so he was quite taken aback when I asked him “What do you want to happen after you die?” over breakfast Thursday morning. The mere thought of going to his funeral was almost too much to bare when he surprised me with his answer. He is an avid hunter/fisher/outdoors-man who was born and raised in the Ellensburg area, and there is a specific spot in this hills that he holds very dear. He informed me that he had read about something called “bio-urns” that essentially are plant seeds and soil mixed in with one’s ashes that  are planted into the ground;  he wants to become a part of his “hunting hole” as he calls it.

While the initial thought of this conversation brought me sadness and anxiety, he explained his wishes so peacefully and so matter-of-fact that it brought me some peace as well. Had something happened to him, I never would’ve known about his choices and how to honor them had I not started this conversation. We hold a large amount of respect for the one’s we love, so why wouldn’t we respect their choices in death as well? Neither of us had ever even considered making a will or filling out an advance directive, probably due to our young age, but when we both got to talking about our wishes we realized how important those things are. While death is a hard topic for most people, it is inevitable, but we can make things much easier on our loved ones when we have our choices already laid out for them.

Consumer Protection and Regulation: School Meals

Whether or not the law is always on our side, it is the hope of Americans that the law is there to protect all people. When we look at driving laws, gun laws, drinking age laws, etc., the peoples’ best interest is in mind. For many years however, it seemed that regulations in school lunches did not necessarily have the best interest of America’s children at heart. Along with the inauguration of Barak Obama as President in 2009, came First Lady Michelle Obama, and with her, a passion to get America’s youth active and healthy. According to the USDA, with Mrs. Obama’s help, new standards came into affect for healthier school meals to enable healthier children. For the first time in fifteen years, school meals were being criticized and forced to improve.

Standards required by law include: Proper portions and caloric intake amounts, daily fruits and vegetables, reduced amounts of saturated fat, sodium, etc., offering low-fat options. This is one instance where the law is helping teach America’s youth the importance of nutrition and helping gear toward a healthier generation overall. Scientists and nutritionists helped develop these standards, expanding them outside of the cafeteria and into the vending machines on campuses. Increased funding for public schools across the nation was also promoted due to these new standards. Regulating school lunches directly affects the consumer (the children of the schools) and is allowing them proper education on nutrition as well as easy and affordable access to it.

Here is a chart that shows school meals before and after reform, it is clear that in regulating the standards of food served in schools, children now have access to nutrient rich food; at least while on school grounds. https://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/cnr_chart.pdf

Health Care Prompt Two

There are so many issues today, due to social media and other sources, that expose the public to “fake news” and it is truly difficult for any American citizen to decipher what is real and what is not. Fox News says one thing about the future of our health care and CNN says another, so reports such as this CBO report are crucial in understanding the reality of our situation; unbiasedly.

I had already learned in previous courses how much the U.S. spends on health care and yet has some of the worst health disparities in the world, and this CBO report taught me that under this new legislation would reduce direct-spending by $1,022 billion. This seems like a great thing right? Spend less on tertiary care, put the resources into primary care and watch the country’s health flourish. But when I read on, I learned that reducing this spending is in direct relation to the fact that this legislation would cut costs in Medicaid. Medicaid helps low-incomes families all across the country receive long-term health care, and cutting budgets here would hurt many people. What I would like to know is, if spending in Medicaid is cut and this new legislation would raise insurance premiums, how are low-income and even middle-class families going to be able to afford insurance for health care? I would assume that reading the new legislation bill itself would give me the answers I am looking for. Reports such as this CBO report are quite eye-opening. I don’t often think about federal budgets, yet it affects the people of this country, especially in regards to health care; it is definitely important to consider when learning about new legislation such as this.

The Intro Post

My name is McKenzie and I am now in my third quarter as a Public Health major with the population health emphasis. I was originally a Language Arts Teaching major but throughout all of my schooling I was taking different health classes for fun; it has always been an interesting and important topic to me. After some things changed in our administration, I decided to make the switch to Public Health and I have never been happier.

As I see it, my personal consumer health status is slightly varied. I grew up near the poverty line and though my family has worked their way up, I still often find myself overthinking nearly every purchase I make. I bargain shop, I compare prices, I read reviews on the product at hand and while I feel these are good strategies, I don’t always follow them. When it comes to home items, clothing, materialistic things, I consider myself a “careful” shopper; however, things like groceries, cleaning products, coffee, I tend to just read the label and buy. I am a sucker for the “cage free”, “organic”, “fair trade” labels which are always more expensive and yet I haven’t done the research on whether these products are simply meeting the bare minimum of their claims, or not. I see an ad on Facebook for Bigfoot Java and next thing I know, I’m craving coffee. From this class I hope to help myself and other “suckers” combat this process. Also to learn the real research necessary before consuming and to really learn the ins and outs of this processes affects on health.

My first and most important value is my mental health. This is something not enough people focus on, and yet it affects all aspects of your life and who you are. My mental health and how I take care of it comes before anything, because without that, everything else that is important to me becomes harder to handle; relationships, school, work, etc. Being my best self and making sure that is my priority allows all other aspects of my health to fall into place. My other value is family, which is not simply limited to that which you were born into. Family to me includes relatives, chosen friends, in-laws, “step”, and pets alike. My family is my support system, my lifeline, my comfort zone and something I always put first.

As Americans we have the right to freedom; of speech, of religion, of sexual orientation, of political views. I feel this right seems to falter in the eyes of many, but it is there nonetheless and for that I am grateful. We also have the right to life and happiness (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness right). As long you are not infringing on laws or causing harm to others, we as Americans have the right to pursue choices that provide self-fulfillment, to live in a way in which we choose for ourselves. As human beings we should all have the right to equal and accessible healthcare and also to have complete control over our own bodies and minds, though these rights are unfortunately not the case across most of the globe.