Greg Johnson – Personal Update 201609


Personal Update 201609 | 29 September 2016 | Thursday


I hope you’re doing well. Thanks for taking a moment to read my latest update.


My consulting business continues to expand. I’m gaining new clients and still working with some who I’ve served for decades. These days I’m mostly providing tech support and also offering website development consulting and services. Over the past two weeks I’ve been working on two fairly large website redesign projects that I’m excited about. I continue to enjoy working as an authorized Apple repair technician part time.


As we head into fall, the weather is more conducive to enjoyable bike riding and walking so I’m enjoying getting out more as well as continuing with my strength training program at the gym. For years I’ve been using a spreadsheet in my iPhone to track my weight lifting. It helps me keep track of my progress. I use the Apple Numbers program, along with the integrated form feature for data entry and drop-down options. This makes it easy to quickly enter strength exercises.

This past month, I’ve lifted over 94,000 pounds, and since I started going back to the gym regularly in April, I’ve lifted over 1 million pounds. This total is calculated by adding up each weight lifted by the number of times it was lifted. I’m looking forward to increasing how much I lift each month.

Here’s an example of what the entry system looks like.


Here’s a quick review of how it works:

  • Entry. Touch Entry to see the above screen that lets you enter information using a form-like presentation.
  • Sheet. Touch Sheet to view a spreadsheet presentation of the data.
  • Total Entries. The number above ‘815 of 815’ is a count of the total entries in the database.
  • Date / Time. The full date and time are shown above. To enter this information each time, you simply touch the time and press the ‘Now’ button to enter the current date and time, or enter any other date and time you wish.
  • Activity. This is a drop-down menu of the type of exercise you’re doing. You can easily add items to this list in the Sheet view, by selecting the column, choosing format, and selecting the Drop-Down option. This saves a lot of time because you don’t need to type each activity repeatedly.
  • Weight. This is the amount of weight lifted.
  • Reps. This is how many times you’ve lifted the weight.
  • Sets. This number represents how many times, if any, that  you repeat this activity in a given workout session.
  • Total. This number is the total amount lifted which is equal to (weight) x (reps) x (sets).
  • Location. This is the gym or location where you did the exercise. This can be relevant if one gym has a different weight machine that requires a slightly different adjustment for the weight. For example, a chest press machine at one gym may be set at 200 pounds but to get the same resistance at another gym you might set it to 180. It depends on how the belts and pulleys are configured. Knowing the location and weight from last time can help determine what weight you should lift the next time.
  • Notes. This is a field for entering additional notes.

I’m using similar spreadsheets for tracking my weight, car mileage, and other data. What I like about the system is that it’s easy to setup and customize depending on the need, and it’s built on Apple’s own Numbers spreadsheet software that works on all iPhone, iPad, iPod, and desktop computers, as well as on the web at using their cloud apps. The form entry feature only works in the iOS version.


Many thanks to all of you who keep in touch and provide support for the work I do.

~ Greg


Want More News? For additional news and updates you can subscribe to the Resources For Life Newsletter by sending an email to

Origins. For those of you who are new to these monthly personal updates, they began about 16 years ago out of a desire to share from my personal life about topics of lifeways (faith), health, career, finances, relationships, effective living, and activism. This is based on the life map presented on the Resources For Life website.

Amazing Improvement in Sleep Quality

I founded the website almost 20 years ago with the goal of empowering people working in the public interest. The Life Map outlines areas of life that need attention, care, support, and renewal. Those working in public service and social activism especially need to maintain a strong and balanced life for maximum efficiency. Optimal health is critical, and sleep is an essential foundation for health.

Like millions of other people, I’ve been using an activity tracker during the day, that also analyzes my sleep quality at night. Anyone curious about their sleep quality can get a report that shows a chart indicating times of sleep, restless, and awake times.

Over the past few years, I’ve been working to improve my quality of sleep, and had some success. Yet, I still found my sleep quality wasn’t as good as I’d like, and in recent months it had been getting worse.

Stress can have a big influence on sleep quality. One of the biggest sources of stress for people can be their work, even for those who enjoy their job. Perhaps those who enjoy their job are even more susceptible to stress, because along with that tends to be a genuine concern about colleagues, customers, and the business or institution you work for.

Those who don’t care can leave their work behind at 5 o’clock and go home without giving it another thought. For others, that’s hard to do. Concerns about a colleague, or a problem at work, or perhaps considerations about innovations that might improve the workplace, these things are hard to ‘turn off’ for some people.

I’ve met many dedicated people thought the years — those putting in extra hours, and going above and beyond, not for any recognition or financial compensation, but just because they care about their job and the people they work with, and sometimes because they don’t complain when they are asked to take on extra work. Such people probably take on some additional work-related stress.

Yesterday I decided to make a career change. It was a big decision, and also a big weight off my shoulders. In life it’s easy to wonder whether or not the choices we make are the right move. There are gut feelings, but rarely any scientific metrics to go by.

Last night I went to bed at peace with the decision I’d made. It helped to have the support, agreement, and reassurance of my wife (Makur).

I woke up this morning and looked at my sleep analysis chart for the night like I always do.

Yet this time I saw something that I’d never seen before. I just looked at the chart. I was stunned.

I’ve provided the chart below so you can see it for yourself.

The “Before” chart shows a typical night. Normally there are lines indicating restless times (blue lines) and awake times (red lines). This is what I’ve seen now hundreds of times over the past few years. Sometimes more lines than others, but typically like what you see below in the top chart. In recent months there have been more of those lines.

The “After” chart shows only one blue line over a seven hour period. I’d slept through the night without waking, and apparently without even moving.

At that moment, I really knew that I’d made the right decision yesterday. Not only was I at peace with the decision, but the pressure of the job was gone.

It gives me a lot to reflect on, being familiar with the health impact of poor sleep, it’s a decision that may end up saving my life.

Update: As of 1 January 2016, it’s been about two weeks since I first posted this article. Since then, I’ve consistently seen better sleep each night, and had some great success with weight loss — I’ve lost about 6 pounds since then.



@BEVEL and the ‘Slow Shave Movement’

As a technologist, I’m always looking for ways to do things faster. For this reason, it’s been hard for me to embrace the Slow Movement (until recently).

My long-time approach to shaving has been to go as fast as possible, using a disposable razor and a can of cheap shaving cream. Other than razor burn, cuts, and dry irritated skin, I felt I’d achieve the optimal shaving experience. I didn’t imagine there could be anything better.

I recently purchased the Bevel shaving system. It’s a high quality kit that comes with a razor, extra blades, brush, priming oil, shave cream, and soothing aftershave lotion. The Bevel shaving experience is definitely more comfortable, and surprisingly, it only takes a few minutes longer than my old less effective and more painful shaving experience.

With Bevel, I discovered the essential missing ingredients to my old fast shave method. The priming oil includes natural emollients (some organically derived) that help soften hair and enrich the skin. The shaving cream contains similar ingredients that are complementary to the oil and aid the shaving process. The soothing aftershave cream moisturizes and protects. The result is a closer and more comfortable shave. The fragrances of essential oils and natural ingredients help enhance the relaxing, invigorating, and grounding experience.


Using the high quality Bevel shaver and products to experience a slower shave, has really caused me to reflect on other areas of life where I’d been moving too quickly to enjoy living. Always racing through life in a rush to get to what’s next results in missing a lot along the way (see the movie Click for a great example of this).

Slowing down, enjoying the process of whatever we’re doing, and using high quality products can be a real life changer.

The Slow Movement is summarized as:

“A cultural revolution against the notion that faster is always better. The Slow philosophy is not about doing everything at a snail’s pace. It’s about seeking to do everything at the right speed. Savoring the hours and minutes rather than just counting them. Doing everything as well as possible, instead of as fast as possible. It’s about quality over quantity in everything from work to food to parenting.” (source)

Bevel has really helped me appreciate and embrace the Slow Movement. I wouldn’t have thought such a simple product could change my approach to life, but it has. The Bevel system has inspired a Slow Shave Movement among their many satisfied customers.

If you think you’re ready for a better more enjoyable shaving experience, click the link below to learn more and get started.


@BEVEL – A New Tradition in Shaving

I first learned about Bevel in early 2015 from their advertising on Facebook. My initial experience with the company was as an enthusiastic follower of their blog — reposting and promoting their stories. Their website, articles, and photography are exceptional. I especially like the Bevel interviews. I’d not used their shaving system, but found the design of the razor and products visually exquisite.

Last week, on Monday, I ordered their shaving kit. They were having a special offer that included the kit with one month of supplies for free. You can get the same offer here:

Within two days, my shaving kit arrived. I was really surprised by the fast delivery. The quality of the kit is something you’d expect to see in a luxury department store or in-flight-magazine for $150. So, for the initial cost of about $7 in shipping, I was really impressed. It was in a premium gift box wrapped in Walker & Co. gift tissue paper. There was a card with a note from Tristan Walker that seemed to have been signed by him with pen — at least the ink strokes didn’t look printed. (See below where Tristan Tweeted a response to this article and confirmed the cards are signed by him.)

Tristan Walker, the founder of Bevel, is the inspiring young entrepreneur behind Walker & Company Brands. Two days ago, in an interview with USA Today, Tristan talked about how he was recently able to raise $24 million in venture capital from angel investors, and he also got Target to agree to start selling his product line in their stores. For a 2-year-old company and young business man, this is quite an accomplishment.



Here are some initial impressions about the product and company.

  • Customer Rewards. Bevel recently launched a customer rewards program. It’s based on customers telling customers. When you signup with Bevel, you’ll get a website link to share with friends. When they signup, they will get a month of products free, and you’ll get rewarded as well.
  • Customer Service. I’ve contacted Bevel customer service and promptly received very helpful and supportive responses. They use as the platform for their customer service. This is another example of how they are doing everything with excellence and following best practices.
  • Disposable Culture. We live in a culture where just about everything is meant to be thrown away. It’s assumed that products will break or wear out and be replaced by new ones. Perhaps a new product design makes the old one obsolete. The Bevel shaver disrupts this trend. It’s an exceptionally designed heirloom-quality product that could easily be handed down from one generation to the next. This is an aspect of using their products that causes a person to take pause and reflect. Should our things (and our life experiences) be of solid, durable, and enduring quality? It’s hard not to begin thinking that this is the way life is supposed to be — of enduring quality.
  • New Experience. I’ve never really looked forward to shaving. I never gave it much thought. It’s something I would do quickly in the morning so I can get on with my day. The Bevel shaving system creates an experience that’s meant to be enjoyed. Now I look forward to shaving, and take my time. With Bevel, it’s a relaxing and grounding part of my morning routine.
    1. Priming Oil. The priming oil feels soothing on the skin and has a subtle fragrance that reminds me of the oil used in barber shops 50 years ago. You can feel your skin and stubble soften when applying the oil.
    2. Shaving Brush. When you wet the badger bristle brush, it smells like a wet badger — very wild and outdoorsy. The smell isn’t so strong after the first week.
    3. Shaving Cream. Mixed with the shaving cream, the brush does an excellent job of preparing for a close shave. A small amount of the shaving cream makes a very nice lather.
    4. Shaver Safety Razor. I was nervous about scraping a sharp blade against my skin, but amazingly it felt better than any other razor I’d ever used.
    5. Restoring Balm. After shaving, the restoring balm (lotion) helps sooth the skin. It has a faint menthol fragrance.
  • Of the Future – From the Past. The shaver is one of the nicest I’ve ever seen. It has a futuristic high-tech design and feel, yet it’s drawing from an old tradition of razor design. In the old design of safety razor, the metal handles are typically cross hatched and rough which is supposed to make them easier to grip when wet. The Bevel somehow manages to have reassuring gripability while at the same time being smooth. You’ll be impressed with how water beads up and flows off the handle and razor head. It reminds me of the super-hydrophobic laser developed metals developed at Rochester University.
  • Patent Wars. I was fascinating to learn that Bevel was founded in part as a response to patent issues that were creating poorer and poorer shaving products over time. After the traditional safety razor patent expired, the market became saturated. Companies looked for greater profits by making new patented razor designs. Marketing helped promote these new designs, even though they don’t necessarily work as well. You can read more on the website.
  • Photography. As a photographer, I’ve been really impressed with the product photos, portraits, and other photography used on the Bevel websites (product site and magazine site).
  • Positive Portrayals for People of Color. Popular media and news networks propagate an inaccurate and derogatory portrayal of black men through images that are disproportionately negative. The marketing done by Bevel reinforces positive portrayals of black men that help counteract the negativity in the media. I think this is really important.
  • Product Design. The Bevel product packaging has a texture/touch that comes from a unique matt finish. The colors are soothing, soft, strong, clarifying, and grounding. The fonts used are elegant and precise. Overall — impressive.
  • Sustainable. By using a permanent metal shaver with steel recyclable blades, the Bevel system is one of the most sustainable shavers available today.

Practical Inspiration

Bevel is doing some really inspiring and innovative work with product design, customer service, marketing, social media, photography, content writing, website design, promotions, and community engagement.

If you’re involved in any of these areas, you should checkout their products and company. Every facet of their products and service is exceptional. By interacting with the company, and using the products, one learns to internalize best practices.

If you decide to purchase some of their products, feel free to use my referral code for a great discount:


The Walker & Co. values are an encouraging departure from business as usual:

  • COURAGE. Our vision requires the courage and conviction to believe that we will build a great company that changes the world.
  • INSPIRATION. Inspiration is in the soul of everything we make and sell. A laser focus and attention to craft, to detail, to colors, to ingredients, to experience. Our success requires it.
  • RESPECT. Our community requires and deserves our respect. They’re the reason we can be inspired and excited to come to work every single day.
  • JUDGMENT. We are our brands. We are responsible for every single action we take, everything we deliver to consumers’ homes and every single interaction they have with us.
  • WELLNESS. We eat well, we sleep well, we keep fit and we care to help and support each other and our families.
  • LOYALTY. We are loyal to a great workplace and team. We are committed to building a great, lasting company for the long term. We’re playing to win and will give it the effort and focus it deserves.

Nice Note from Tristan Walker

Minutes after this article was posted, I got a nice note on Twitter from Tristan Walker (see below) in which he confirmed that those cards in the gift boxes are actually signed by him.


Page Visits

Thanks to everyone who has read and shared this article. The map below shows recent page visitors.


My Visit to the UIHC Center for Digestive Diseases Gastroenterology Colonoscopy Clinic

People Apparently Like Healthcare Stories

I like to write and share stories, but I’ve been shy about sharing my healthcare experiences. I guess in part because it seems ‘personal’ and also because I can’t imagine that anyone other than family and close friends would really be interested.

Two weeks ago I went to the emergency room with a sever abdominal pain, which eventually turned out not to be life threatening. I apparently pulled an abdominal muscle. Yet, I thought the experience was worth sharing. The ER team was really exceptional, and they deserved a word of thanks.

A few days later, that story had over 5,000 readers around the world and was shared over 1,000 times on Facebook. It was then I realized that people apparently do have an interest in such stories. So, for those who are interested, here’s another amazing tale from the world of healthcare. 🙂

Regarding the photo at the top of this page… It was not the result of a request, “Hey doc, can you help me get a selfie posted to Instagram? Take a dozen photos so I can pick the best one. Also, can we adjust the lighting in here?” None of that. Instead, it’s a photo from the U.S. Navy depicting the procedure. 

A Nurse with 57 Years Experience

This past week I went to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for a routine colonoscopy at the Colonoscopy Clinic in the Center for Digestive Diseases Gastroenterology. The clinic seemed very organized and well staffed. As a result, the entire process went as scheduled, despite having many patients in the clinic who were there for various reasons. The nursing staff and doctors with were cheerful and friendly which made the experience more relaxing and pleasant.

I typically don’t like needles. Who does, right? What makes things worse is that my veins are very uncooperative. Even if I drink lots of fluids the night before, most nurses and even trained phlebotomists have a very difficult time finding a good vein. There’s usually lots of tapping on the arm. Then they inevitably say, “Let’s take a look at the other arm,” which ends up being just as bad. On one occasion, it took five different people trying various poking strategies before one was able to get a semi-cooperative vein. That’s a lot of poking.

The night before the colonoscopy procedure, the preparation requires no intake of any food or fluid, even water. So, midway through the following morning, I was super thirsty and very dehydrated.

My primary concern at that point was wondering how they would find a vein for the IV given how dehydrated I was.

Fortunately, I ended up with a nurse who had over 57 years of experience. She was 77 years old, but looked decades younger. We had a pleasant and calming conversation that alleviated my fears. Then when it came time for the needle, I was so relaxed I barely felt it. Amazingly, she got a vein on the first poke, in the inside bend of the elbow where everyone else usually gives up.

We went through the rest of the basic preparations before the procedure which didn’t take long. The IV initially has saline solution to rehydrate the body. Later on prior to the procedure, a pain killer and twilight anesthesia (for conscious sedation) are administered through the IV.

Benefits of a Colonoscopy

Sometime after turning 50-years-old, most people will get a colonoscopy — a fairly simple, quick, and usually painless procedure that can save your life.

Each year in the United States, approximately 50,000 people die of colon cancer, which is ample motivation for getting this procedure that usually eliminates at-risk tissue before any cancer can form.

The most difficult part is the preparation which typically begins two days before the procedure. Your doctor will provide detailed instructions unique for your test situation. There are food restrictions as much as four days before the procedure.

The Colonoscopy Preparation – Four Milestones

There are four significant milestones during the two-day colonoscopy preparation. These instructions may change depending on the procedure and clinic, but here’s what I followed.

  1. Magnesium Citrate. Two days before the procedure, the guidelines state, “drink one bottle of Magnesium Citrate after your evening meal.” It’s a carbonated beverage that comes in a few different flavors. Taken with ice it’s actually not too bad. Before too long, it takes effect in a very noticeable way — and after a few trips to the bathroom you’ll feel totally emptied out. By nighttime you’ll probably be tired and very ready to sleep.
  2. Fasting from Food. After drinking the Magnesium Citrate, there is to be no food. So, a liquid fast begins and lasts about 36 hours. You might want to stay home the day before the procedure because being on a clear liquid diet can make you feel drained of energy and you may have trouble focusing.
  3. Colon Lavage Solution. The night before the colonoscopy procedure, you’ll be instructed to drink a gallon of salty tasting laxative solution that’s created by shaking a powder mix with water. This is probably the most difficult part of the entire experience. The guidelines request that you drink a cup of this solution every 10 minutes over several hours between 4 PM and 7 PM. At first you’ll be able to keep up.
  4. Fasting from Liquid. By evening you will have been without any food for 24 hours, and your body will have no food reserves remaining to be digested or processed. So, it’s an intense fasting experience. I use a sleep tracker, and noticed in the report the next morning some significant improvements with sleep quality, duration, and reduced restlessness. It’s believed that going to sleep on a full stomach with intestines full can result in restless sleep. So, having the stomach and intestines empty may help with sleep. It also helps to be thoroughly exhausted.

The Colonoscopy Procedure

In the preparation area there were about a dozen hospital beds, each with a privacy curtain all in one big open room. I’d not been in a situation like that before where many people were receiving care simultaneously. In retrospect, I think it helped reduce anxiety to have a dozen other people getting prepped for similar procedures. There’s something about a bit unnerving about going through an experience alone. Being with others reinforces the sense that it’s just a typical every-day procedure.

Once I was prepped for the procedure, I was wheeled (in the hospital bed) to the procedure room. As I recall there were three people including the doctor. An oxygen tube was provided (to the nose) probably because the sedation causes shallow breathing. There was also a blood pressure cuff and finger pulse/oxygen monitor.

Depending on how heavily sedated you are, the last thing you remember might be the nurse administering the anesthesia through the IV.

When I woke, I was in the hospital bed in same location as where I’d been prepped. I was a little groggy at first, and then woke slowly. The anesthesia continues to have a calming influence throughout the day. It’s recommended that you not drive or even take public transit for 24 hours after the procedure.

All the Benefits of a Juice Fast Cleanse

Something I’d not anticipated was the energy boost that followed during the days after the colonoscopy. This may be the result of higher nutrient absorption into the body (due to a cleaned out intestine). it’s true that the body is regularly drained of energy from being filled with food most of the time that requires processing. So, emptying it out occasionally is a nice respite.

I’ve done various intense fasts in the past, but that was many years ago. So, I’d forgotten about how the body can have so much more energy during and after a fast.

I was glad I took a day before and a day after the procedure to stay home and rest. It helped make the entire process less stressful.

Overall I’m really glad I had the procedure, and pleased with the care provided by everyone in the clinic. I’m really grateful for the amazing nurse I had helping me before the procedure. I definitely won’t be as anxious when it comes time for the next exam.



I got a follow-up call this evening (24 Jul 2015) from the doctor who performed the colonoscopy. It was nice to learn that there’s nothing to be concerned about. For some healthcare clinics, there’s no follow-up phone call. Instead a letter goes out, or there’s an update in the online medical service portal (MyChart for UIHC). Having a phone call was a nice personal touch.

Document History

  • 9 Jul 2022. Document converted to WordPress block layout from the Classic WordPress editor block. A mention in the introductory section was added to clarify the source of the featured photo.
  • 24 July 2015. Document created.


* The Gastroenterology Center at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics is located at 200 Hawkins Drive, Iowa City, IA 52242.

My Visit to the Emergency Room at Mercy Hospital in Iowa City

Each Person is Important

When I was a teenager, I worked at McDonalds. I took the job to earn a little extra money, but over the years I’ve realized that I got much more out of that job than some extra spending money. At least in my case, I really learned, internalize, and honed a valuable work ethic. I was at an age where I was receptive, so it wasn’t a chore I resisted. I also learned that something as simple as a small bag of French Fries is important. Each customer — each person — is important.

We’d use stopwatches to time how long it took for a customer to wait in line, have their order taken, and get their food. My manager told me it was critical to provide prompt attentive service. I was told my work was important. We’d all compete with each other to see how quickly we could provide exceptional service. There was a comprehensive video training program, and we’d get credit for continuing education.

As I continued in life, I held on to the idea that even a simple task such as providing someone with an order of fries was very important and should be done thoughtfully. When I began my career as a computer support specialist, I felt my work was even more important than giving a person french fries. So, I determined that computer work deserved an equal or greater level of attention, responsiveness, and care.

Mysterious Abdominal Pain

Last week I had a sharp pain in my abdomen. It persisted over a few days, so I went to one of the exceptional satellite care centers we have in our area. These are the offices you go to as a first point of contact. They are limited in what they can provide, but they are convenient, fast, and a good way to see a doctor quickly for an assessment of what to do next.

The doctor I saw told me to go to the emergency room immediately. The concern with abdominal pain is that it could be just about anything from intestinal gas to a life-threatening appendicitis or other serious condition.

The ‘Other’ Hospital

I went to the emergency room of a local hospital.* Upon arriving and beginning the check-in process, my first question, was how long it might be — considering the pain I was in. My wife asked and got the response, “I don’t know,” from the person at the check-in window. My wife persisted, “Will it be an hour? Two hours? Four hours?” The answer came back again, this time a little more rudely, “I really don’t know.”

I looked around the waiting room, and seeing that almost all the seats were empty, and only a few people were there comfortably reading magazines, I couldn’t imagine why we wouldn’t be seen right away, and couldn’t understand why we wouldn’t be given at least a general estimate of when we might be seen. From the person’s expression at the check-in window, it was clear our presence there was an unwanted inconvenience. While DMV offices are known for a long wait and sometimes poor service, at least you get to take a number and know where you are in the queue.

Just getting to that ER was challenging. The narrow winding road with multiple unexpected sharp turns, and painful potholes, arrives at a confined dead-end entrance area where you’d imagine a loading dock to be. The few parking spots close to the door were already taken. Then there was the entrance. Sliding doors. Enter the first set of doors on the right. Then the next door requires you enter on the left. Trying to move in a serpentine motion isn’t so easy when you’re not feeling well. Then there were obstructions to reaching the check-in window. It was like an obstacle course. They certainly weren’t making it easy or convenient for people.

After some time went by, with nobody in the waiting room getting called, it was clear that things weren’t just moving slowly. They weren’t moving at all. We decided to cancel the check-in, but by then there was nobody at the check-in window and no hospital employees in sight. Hmmm… “How do we even get out of this?” I didn’t want to get an emergency room visit fee. Finally the grumpy person returned, and we told them we’d be going to a different hospital. They gave no response. Just a smirk.

Emergency Room Experience at Mercy Hospital

We went as fast as we could to Mercy Hospital in Iowa City. The hospital was easy to find. The emergency room entrance was easy to get to. There was abundant parking close by.

We entered and were immediately attended to by a cheerful person at one of the many check-in windows.

After my previous experience, I thought I should ask how long it might be before I could see a doctor.

“It’s an emergency room, so right away,” she responded smiling, but also looking a little perplexed.

I explained, “It’s just that the last emergency room we visited was very unfriendly and they wouldn’t tell us when I’d be seen by a doctor. They said it might be four hours.”

She smiled and said at Mercy they try to have people with a doctor in triage within 5 minutes of their arrival. “Would you like a warm blanket?” she asked. “Not right now, thanks,” I replied.

I felt like I was flying first class or checking in at some kind of fancy resort.

I asked where the restroom was.

She responded, “It’s right over there. Here, take this,” and handed me a urine sample cup. In most doctor’s offices you sit in the waiting room, and then after a while see a nurse who gives you the sample cup, but only if its deemed necessary, and usually after you’ve already gone to the bathroom.

The moment I stepped out of the restroom the doctor was ready to see me.

So, I was being seen and cared for in minutes after my arrival.

A few more minutes later, there was a team of nurses and doctors surrounding me working on diagnosing what might be causing my abdominal pain — asking me various questions to rule out bladder infection, pancreatitis, bowl obstruction, appendicitis, hernia, and various other possible causes. “You may need to go into surgery,” one of them told me.

Comprehensive lab work was done with blood and urine samples. A full CT scan was performed by two technicians.

In all, I think there were about 12 medical professionals attending to me, including the doctors, nurses, CT technicians, lab technicians, and other staff.

It was the kind of care you’d imagine a dignitary or celebrity getting — but that’s just apparently how they treat everyone.

Well, the good news is that the sharp pain was apparently caused by a pulled abdominal muscle. I just needed to rest up and get better. After knowing it wasn’t something more serious, my worries subsided and the pain subsided (with the help of the pain medication they gave me in my IV line).

I was home in time for lunch — rather than still writhing in pain at the other hospital.

The prompt and caring service at Mercy reminded me of when I was younger, working at McDonalds, learning that if bag of fries is important, then certainly something like caring for a person’s medical needs should be more important and deserving of fast, professional, compassionate care. It helped me to set a standard of excellence in the most menial of tasks, so I’d always excel beyond that in other areas.

Painful experiences are always difficult, but I can say I’m glad I had the opportunity to visit Mercy Hospital that day.


P.S. Thanks! To those who’ve asked… Yes, I’m feeling much better now. Thanks! 🙂

P.P.S. Comparison Data. I didn’t discover it until later, but ProPublica has an online ER wait time comparison guide based on data collected between April 2013 and March 2014. I’m not sure how representative that data is a year later, and don’t know how accurate the data collection was. It would be nice to have a national map showing real-time data collected live from hospitals across the country.

P.P.P.S. Praise & Criticism. It’s always a good idea to offer praise publicly, and criticism privately. So, I didn’t mention the name of the ‘other’ hospital in my writing. Additionally, while personal experiences are helpful to encourage and coach teams, overall assessments of an institution should be made with longitudinal data from the experiences of many people over time.

P.P.P.P.S Comments. Okay, so it’s been about a week since I shared my story online, and I didn’t realize that people had been posting comments below awaiting approval. Sorry about that! I’ve approved them all, and replied to each one. To those of you who felt I was too harsh on the ‘other’ hospital. I have another story to share from this week about a very positive experience with the other hospital. No, I don’t plan to start a weekly journal about hospital visits. 😉

Impact: The Rest of the Story

When we make an extra effort to go above and beyond in our workplace, or perhaps maybe outside of work we do something nice through a special act of kindness, one often wonders what the impact is. Today, with social media, we can actually see the impact visually. The maps below show people who have read this story, and then were moved to share it with others, who shared it with others, and so on. Exceptional acts of excellence and kindness are inspiring. They encourage others to raise the bar, to do more, to do better, to be better.

For the nurse who is tired after many long shifts, who has had a difficult week, but chooses to set those things aside and give one more smile while focusing on someone in need or in pain… That nurse wonders what impact their kindness has in the world. Here’s the impact.

In the few hours after posting this story, 230 people had shared it, reaching 1,200 readers. After two days, there were 890 who shared it reaching 4,800 people – and the story spread to Europe. After three days, the story had reached Australia, Iceland, Romania, Ireland, and the United Arab Emirates.

The maps below shows the 200 most recent visitors. Click any map for a larger gallery view.

What we do in life, for good or for bad, has an impact in the world. Live your life for good.


* I didn’t name the ‘other’ local hospital because I really didn’t intend this article to be a criticism of that hospital, but instead a word of thanks to the team at Mercy and a general commentary about the importance of quality customer / patient care. I subsequently received comments from people who are very pleased with their own experiences at the ‘other’ hospital. I’ve also had some very positive experiences with various departments within the ‘other’ hospital. It’s just that their emergency room process and procedures could use some improving.

DIY Glucose Stress Test Results

Amazing! Just did a DIY glucose stress test with 47 grams of highly bioavailable liquid caffeinated sugar (one bottle of Starbucks Mocha Coconut Frappuccino) and two Dark Chocolate Kind Bars (32 grams of carbs). Over 100 grams of carbs in the past few hours. Glucose levels barely increased. This indicates healthy glucose control and proper insulin response. Learn more


Open-Source, Public Domain, Open Access, Collaborative, Universal Design Wellness Protocol

I’m excited to be developing an open-source, public domain, open access, collaborative, universal design wellness protocol to simultaneously address various health issues such as high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity. The glucose numbers you see below of 87 and 88 were over 300 about 7 weeks ago. Over the same time period, I’ve lost about 14 pounds. Blood pressure, once at 141 over 90 is now down to 118 over 79. More astonishing results to be posted in the weeks to come. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the project so far. You can read my latest post online at