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Today is the last day most of us will work this week because of Thanksgiving.  I looked back over the last couple of years to see if there was any inspiration in prior Thanksgiving posts and there wasn’t a whole lot.  Medicare still seems to be working against us and we are still fighting hard to stay in the game.  We are tough and we will survive.  It’s a given.

It isn’t that I am ungrateful.  I am grateful most days when I wake up and take note of my life.  Compared to about 90 percent of the world, I have everything; a home, a family and a son with a dog I love dearly.  Who could want more?

Maybe you could want more.  Maybe some of your patients could want more.

So this year I choose to not make a big deal about all I have to be grateful for as other people are coping with illness or the loss of a loved one.  Being grateful is good.  Flaunting my good fortune in the face of others who are not so fortunate does not tell a story about me that I like.

At some point between the Turkey and the doors opening for Black Friday, maybe we should all pause and consider how we can give something to those who do not have a warm family and home to celebrate with on Thanksgiving Day.  Maybe we can give someone something to be grateful for if only for a minute.

If you live in an urban area, consider keeping some Karma Bags in your car.  Cheap, easy and versatile, if all home health and hospice nurses making home visits carried a half dozen of these, that would make for a lot of meals.  This is what I do for less than ten bucks.

Hit the Dollar Store and go through extra stuff at your house and on your desk to come up with useful things.  Consider some of the following.

Karma 1

  • Juice
  • Mints
  • Peanutbutter
  • crackers
  • Advil or Tylenol
  • Toothbrushes/toothpaste
  • A printed prayer or poem
  • socks!
  • list of local resources
  • razors
  • soap
  • canned tuna or sausages
  • stamped postcard
  • ink pens

The list is endless and I choose what goes into the bags based upon what is available and priced so I can buy multiples.

Assemble the Karma Bags in whatever handy container you have available.  I have used zip lock bags, sports water bottles (a client had some left over from previous owners with the name of an agency that was no longer in business and burlap bags from the Kraft store that were on sale.  The best part of this kind of giving is that it isn’t limited to the holidays.

karma 2

Not everyone feels their heart reach out to the homeless people.  That’s okay.  Some people are drawn to other causes and there are so many worthy causes.  I personally am useless around sick kids but that doesn’t mean that I don’t care and I am very grateful for those who can provide care and attention to them.

If you have another idea that you think could brighten the day of someone whose day really needs brightening, please share.  And if you do Karma Bags, please send us photos.

If you are someone who will be missing someone or has otherwise been disappointed by life, try Karma Bag therapy. You might find that your day is brightened as well.


7 Comments Post a comment
  1. cxg175 #

    I love the way you put this- “Flaunting my good fortune in the face of others who are not so fortunate”. That sums it up beautifully. It is easy to be grateful when things are going well. Not so much when things are going badly. I see people at work who are talking about how grateful they are for their wonderful lives, which is a good thing, but they need to keep it to themselves. Some of us are having trouble paying the bills and keeping food on the table. We are trying in our own small way to be grateful for what we do have, and to stay grateful. It hurts to hear others comment about their many blessings. People need to be mindful of that.

    November 26, 2015

    • I have sat on both sides of the table and being thankful does not mean publishing a list of all the good things that have come your way. There will always be others with less or more than me. The key is to be content with you have and to put your heart into those things that matter. And no matter how good or bad you have it, it can always be better if you share what you have, even if its ten minutes of your time or a smile, with others. Says Pollyanna.

      November 28, 2015
  2. Connie Slampak #

    What a wonderful idea! I will be filling and carrying these little “Bags of Love” from now on. And I plan on filling a starter supply for my staff too. Hopefully, they will continue the tradition. Thank you Julianne.

    November 27, 2015
  3. Elaine #

    I used to do that all the time. Now we have to worry if we are breaking a Stark law or something similar.–patient inducement. The government has twisted things so much that a kind and innocent gesture can be turned into a felony.

    November 30, 2015

    • As I understand it, and I emphasize that I am not a lawyer, its not really inducement when you are giving them to the public. There is also a ten dollar inducement rule of thumb. Being that I made about six of these suckers for about ten bucks, it wouldn’t fit there, either.

      People are always surprised when I tell them that healthcare providers cannot give away free services. Interesting to say the least. They see providers as greedy and only out for a profit when really, they are not allowed to see a patient without insurance if they do not meet the poverty guidelines or whatever policy an agency has implemented. Patients without drugs are left without if the doc has no samples or the free pharmacy is out. Heaven forbid you should buy a week’s worth of meds until the patient gets approved for an assistance program or, if it’s Medicaid, until thirty days are up. If their meds are misplaced or lost, I guess they are supposed to go without. Too bad if they have a stroke from high blood pressure or borrow their neighbors drug which is completely wrong for them.

      November 30, 2015
  4. Jon #

    I am thankful for Haydel Consultants!

    November 30, 2015

    • And I am thankful for you for always doing the right thing and believing in us.

      November 30, 2015

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