Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Walking Gallery

I always wanted to be one of those creative artsy people when I was younger – something about their free spirit draws you into their earthy lifestyle. As my friend Carrie can attest – I did attempt to be “cool like that” but I have settled for just enjoying art and music. So, when I started following @ReginaHolliday I was enamored with her artistic ability, and something about her draws you into her world of colors and words.

I will admit – I didn’t know what to expect traveling to the Walking Gallery. Let’s face it I met her on the internet….squares just don’t do this type of thing….I had no idea what I was in for, and let me say the experience was incredible.

When I arrived at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health – I encountered fellow Walkers @MatthewBrowning and @FairCareMD we were all lost but soon we found our way to the “Gallery”. There were jackets all ready walking…I was challenged to find my own as I began to lose myself in the art. Soon I found myself standing at a table receiving my jacket, but strangely it wasn’t the jacket I sent – the jacket had become a window into my life for all to see. As I stared into the face of my sick baby it was incredible how she captured him – my Noah. I put on my jacket and found @ReginaHolliday. She recognized me immediately and threw her arms around me. It was like seeing an old friend.

As I wandered through the room I met @technicaljones and learned about his mothers fight for life. His jacket with a “SuperMom” who fought through illness to be there for her children. Across the room I spotted @epatientDave, he moved through the room like a rockstar with people reaching out and talking. David Hale incredible Matrix inspired jacket with a red pill representing all data and a blue pill representing us accepting what we are told to be truth from doctors. We marched together walked sharing the challenges of weeding through data with limited budgets. @MatthewBrownings jacket (one of my favorite paintings) showed the harrowing experience he had with his wife and their first child. @tmit beautiful jacket in support of the #caremom movement. The evening went on and my story repeated itself over and over sometimes without my mouth even opening – to people who understood. I didn’t have to prove myself as an expert in my field – I didn’t have to justify how I knew anything since I am not a clinician or doctor. I just got to be a mom with a story about healthcare.

My story – we were in the hospital and Noah vomited – I pressed my button and no one came….my company installed the button years ago – I thought it was broken……it wasn’t…..the difference between my story and most is when I went to the hospital they acted. They didn’t just act – they talked to me and made me part of the solution. I was able to meet other patients they call “frequent fliers” and their parents. I was able to work deeply with the technology team. I took my story and I created because that’s what I do. Talking only will get us so far – words are meaningless without action.

Look at Regina – she is a preschool teacher – she is an artist – who would listen to her? Most artist are seen by business people as creatives who can’t work so they paint….I laugh at the thought when I think of Regina. She uses her powerful medium as a tool to reach the masses – as a method to spread her gospel – as a leader to those of us who don’t know how to define our voice. Let me tell you, some of the most powerful people in healthcare listen to her. If you are in healthcare and you don’t – you are missing the boat.

I have shared with very few people recently how tired I am – fighting to build a startup, being challenged by healthcare to prove it, traveling every week, and night time kisses through video phone – after this event…..I am inspired…..I am energized…..and I know it’s all worth it.

If what I do impacts one life – it’s worth it. Let that be your thought today. Be inspired by the stories – not by your technology.

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