"When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold on to them. They are the life boats for the darker times, when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely illusive. So the question becomes, or should have been all a long... What would you do if you knew you only had one day, or one week, or one month to live. What life boat would you grab on to? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfill? What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee? What book would you write?"
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
I have two nursing inventions, but those two are two actual "things" that might actually be inventable....maybe one day I'll share them with you. :-)
Anyway, back to the "abstract idea inventions"...
1) This relates back to my post, "It's a Social Thing", when I was frustrated with how hard it is to avoid restaurants, not because of the food- but because well, its a social thing.
Scenario: Boy meets girl. Boy asks girl out. Somewhere they can just talk. Movies? No, can't talk in a movie. Bowling? No, you can't talk while you bowl because someone is always bowling. Shop around in the mall? No, thats incredibly awkward. Oh, Hey- Lets go out to eat! Thats a good place to talk. It gives you something to do with your hands when the conversation pauses. You can awkwardly stare at other people, play with your straw, drink 4 glasses of water, eat every last crumb on your plate and then stare at them.....(Ok, maybe thats just what I do- But still). Thats my point. People use restaurants as a place to just talk, catch up, whatever, and eating just comes along with it. And then the food all contributes to America's Obesity epidemic. But what else do we have?
So, heres my wild abstract thought: Why not create some sort of.....place...where people can go just to talk? It would be a big building, a huge center. There would be lots of different "areas" that you can go to, with tables, or couches....In the winter, there would be areas with real fireplaces going. Maybe you could reserve a room for you and a friend, or group of friends to just have a good time with....
There would be places to get tea/coffee, too. Because thats a must. In my world. Maybe there will be a bookstore. (Okay this is turning into B&N). Maybe there can be a recreation center, where you can rent a tennis court with a friend, or racquetball or something. There could be a pool. There could be a club, where you ballroom dance in by day and nightclub dance in by night....All things with no food!
I wonder if it would actually work. Probably not. I'm forgetting that not everyone in this universe hates the food industry as much as me. And that usually, people aren't looking to talk. And, normal people like food. SO tell me -- do you think this would fail? Would people go to a place like this on a date, or with friends, just to talk, as opposed to eating out? Or would they eat out AND go to this place?
I guess you can't stop America from eating out unless you shut down all the chain restaurants. That would never happen.
I'm also forgetting that you could always invite a date or a group of friends to your home to talk, but that doesn't always work out. It's hard to be a host and not everyone actively enjoys that.
This invention stemmed from the recent article, "The Hot Spotters" by Atul Gawande in the New Yorker. The article was about how we can map out where the most expensive patients are coming from, by state, by city, by building in the city....And by finding where they are coming from, we can actively seek out to help that particular population. Atul Gawande points out that If we see a particular apartment complex in Camden, NJ is housing a significantly large amount of ER visits or chronic conditions, perhaps thats a good place to place a doctor's office or Nurse Practitioner, to target them before they get to the ER or get to be a chronic condition.
So, keeping that in mind, keep this in mind:
There are a lot of homeless people in America. What if we mapped out where the high incidences of homeless people were, and acted there first? And its not always just the big cities that have high populations of homeless people, sometimes its the little towns.
So how do we act? Well, what if we had big homeless shelters (again with the big idea, big center thing), to house homeless people? There would be qualifications to enter, of course. No drugs or alcohol on premise whatsoever. This center would help you find a job, they would have a thrift store on campus, to buy cheap clothes and business suits for work...
I know some people are against spending tax dollars to house homeless people, because the stereotype is that these people are homeless because they spent all their money on drugs, or alcohol, or gambled it all, or whatever. But think about the people that did nothing wrong. Think about the single mothers. Think about the children, the teenagers. Think about people that just lost their home. What about them? Do we really want them on the streets? By keeping them on the streets, they become a risk to themselves. They are predisposing themselves to more health problems (malnutrition, infections, hypothermia), violence, and a life of continued homelessness. Without help they don't know how to get an education (or finish one), how to get a job, how to find a bed to sleep in that night.
So this place, (there would be many throughout the nation in the "hot spots"), would be a safe haven for these people. A way to get them off the streets. A warm place. With showers, and food. Blankets. Clothes. It wouldn't be luxury, it wouldn't be long-term, and it wouldn't be meant for people to want to stay there instead of getting there life turned around and finding somewhere better.
I know that in a lot of homeless shelters today there becomes a problem where women are not the dominant resident type, and therefore they are outnumbered, and are at risk for harassment or sexual abuse. So my new type of homeless shelter would have divisions. Like 50 beds for the men, 30 for teens, 40 for adult women, 10 "rooms" for each homeless family. Maybe this place could even have a school of its own. Like a GED diploma program on campus. Maybe the residents could work at the center, in the food area, or in the school, or in the thrift store...
I don't know. Just some ideas. I like to think big. Usually when I'm supposed to be paying attention in class. I wonder if any of these ideas could ever work....