The first post of 2012 isn’t the one I’d planned — but it was something I simply have to write.  The Blog Challenge theme for this month is Beginnings — so, in a way, this is also about that.  But more to the point I want to make today, perhaps the theme of 2012 is not just Change (which many experts seem to be saying — and I agree with that, mostly) but the deeper thing I think 2012 is about is. . .  following what most wants to emerge in Life.  (I suspect we will see more of this as the year progresses. . . how can you ignore the insistent seed??)

Ideas are seeds. Let them grow!

Last night I had a dream so lovely I didn’t want to wake up — because it represented a long-held yearning that I so wanted to be true in “real life”.  Perhaps this dream will seed the eventual manifestation — which is another reason why I needed to write about it, as the first message I want to share in 2012.  Dreams, by the way, tell us much.  They tell us what is possible, and they tell us what is important.  This dream was like that, in all ways.

First, a bit of back story.

We take our Corgi to one of the area’s top integrative medicine veterinary clinics (Smith Ridge.)  We have often joked with the capable staff there that we fervently WISH that we could find the same level of care that our dog gets there, among “people docs”.  Sadly, so far there is no such place (that we know about, anyway.)  Which leads me to last night’s dream. . .

In the dream, I was sent to an amazing place, well-lit, modern, clean, efficient, and friendly.  I was there to experience a “Welcome Day” for people to try out what they offer, and to introduce me to all their incredible services.  I was greeted immediately by a friendly person at the front door, who was expecting me and greeted me by name.  She told me, “Your appointment with the first doctor will start now,” and she led me through a short corridor where a doctor was actually there and ready to work with me.  (What a refreshing experience THAT was!)

I noticed, as I approached the room, that there were many other doctors and nurses as well — all of them with patients (who seemed, by the smiles on their faces, happy to be there.)  Each contact with a doctor or nurse practitioner was useful, enjoyable. easy, thorough, and gave me something of enormous value.  Each appointment (which seemed carefully planned, by the way) was prompt and fully staffed with experts, charming in manner, deeply knowledgeable, and the attention of every single one of them was focused on ME and my wellness.

Moving from an initial physical exam (which used state-of-the-art electronic equipment to test all physical functions) to other forms of healing modalities that included nutrition and supplements (for example, I was given samples of easy-to ingest vitamin pastes that would give me energy throughout the day and help me relieve stress), to exercise recommendations (easy and fun!), to emotional and psychological  wellness practitioners, to mobility specialists, prevention specialists — and even to specialists for some chronic conditions I’ve had — the entire experience was, for me, relaxed, fun, and educational.  Oh, and it was free!

When I inquired about how much it would cost in future for me to avail myself of any of the services I sampled, I was told that everything was covered by insurance — and the co-pays were either $10 or $17, depending upon which kind of service I wanted.  Amazing indeed!

When I left there (and I must say I did so reluctantly, I felt that I had found the medical equivalent of Shangri La.  Utopian medicine!  The physical complex where these offices were located was immense; it easily filled two or three city blocks (and here I’m talking of a city like Manhattan.)  But once inside, everything was logically arranged so that one was never far from an area where one needed to be.  There was easy access and transport between areas of service.

All of the medical staff were aware of and connected with one another as need be; if they wanted a consult with another kind of specialist, all they had to do was to press a button and they would be connected via live camera and audio built into the walls.  Also, apparently, all needed paperwork had been done ahead of time; there were no delays while waiting to fill out forms once inside.  It had all been handled previously!

Another fun feature for me was to notice how many obviously wealthy people were there at the same time — famous actors from Hollywood and the Broadway stage; people in the news.  There did not seem to be any different level of treatment for them as there was for everyone else; we were just people being truly served by teams of wellness experts — and the options truly seemed limitless.  I saw movie stars in robes, getting facials and treatments for arthritis alongside other, more “ordinary: folk.  All were treated with respect, kindness, and cheer.

However, even in Utopia, it seems, one must be responsible for one’s own health and choices.  Near the final part of my visit I was led into a room that was supposed to be for a dental exam, but instead they wanted me to lie down on a table and prepare me with an IV drip.  When I asked what that was for, they told me it was for exploratory surgery.  Since I had not been previously informed about this arrangement, I protested and asked them to check their records.  I did not understand how a routine dental exam could turn into surgery requiring anesthesia, and I told them so.  They checked their records and it turned out that I was in the wrong room.  They had the wrong patient!

See?  It pays to be alert even in the dream — and to stand up for what you know to be true!  That fact hasn’t changed — and probably never will, Utopia or not 🙂

When I awoke, I realized quickly that what I had experienced was about as close as it could come to my idea of what would be ideal health care.  A true Shangri La for me would be a well-staffed and funded place where I could get any and every kind of help I wanted or needed, with a focus on preventative care first.  If and when I needed more than that, it was available, including every kind of complementary and alternative medicine I wanted.  And — all the staff consulted with one another, so that I got a comprehensive team looking at my wellness, and interested and invested in keeping me healthy using both traditional medicine as well as complementary modalities, seamlessly woven together and completely affordable.  Teamwork made it hum and glow with positive energy.

It also seems to me that we are far from implementing this picture today.  But I will say this:  if we can manage to create something that good for our animals (such as at Smith Ridge, who consults regularly with top staff at all the area’s finest Animal Specialty Clinics,) why can’t we do it for ourselves?  That question started haunting me last year — and the answer seems to be that we can.  We just need the will to do it.

And that is why I am writing this today.  Will this be the year that our drive to create absolutely GREAT health care catches the imagination of people with the will and the resources to make it happen?

I am convinced this dream is ready to be born.  The people want it.  Many doctors and healthcare practitioners want it.   Instead of asking why we can’t, I think it’s time to start figuring out how we could.  Oh, by the way, for those REALLY into particulars — the name of this place was The Healing Institute.  Simple.  Clear.  Awesome, right?

Who’s with me on this?  Let’s hear it.  Please post your comments below — and your suggestions for where we can begin.  Dreams can come true — when a really great spark catches fire it will be unstoppable.