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  • Writer's pictureBarbara J MacFarlane, MD

Wisdom With Medicine - The Trifecta of Chaos.

Often, when treating hospitalized patient, I have noticed when they experience a special combination of things that is when they are often confused and they become less functional and less independent. They feel they are in chaos. It usually is a combination of little things that have changed in their environment that trig this feeling of chaos.

Chaos comes into play.

I have learned from patients that we all have some combination of things that completely discombobulate us. For each of us it is quite individualistic. The character and intensity of the things are also quite individualistic. For me, it is the combination of my automobile having dysfunction, my computer not working, and my living quarters being disrupted. When those three things happen together, it is my trifecta of chaos.

When the trifecta comes.

When the trifecta comes, along with it comes the other little things like you bump a tree in the parking lot or you misplace your keys and because of that you are late for work or you even stub your toe. When the trifecta of chaos comes, our routine is dismantled and we are not clear thinkers as usual.

My recent trifecta of chaos.

I had a recent trifecta occurance when a rodent ate the wires in my car and therefore it abrutly died while driving, my laptop was set down too quickly (probably because I was frustrated with the rodent) and it had a sudden death and at the same time, projects and renovations in the house made it in disarray. When I started misplacing my keys and forgetting things, I took a moment and realized my trifecta of chaos was occurring.

What is your trifecta of chaos?

If you know what it is, you can approach it differently when it starts. When it does start, you need a laser focus to correct the caustive factors. As a side benefit, if you are laser focused on correcting the causes, you have no time to lament your situation.

My solution.

Using me as an example, it is important to immediately arrange to have the car fixed and make sure there is a rented car for use during the fixing. Having a car and being independently mobile whenever needed, is a core function of my day. I kick into action in regards to having car access any time it is taken away. Also it is important for me to always know exaclty how to obtain a new laptop as soon as possible and send the dead one for repair. It's one of the reasons I have a chromebook, as soon as I turn on a new one, all my files are there. Having that benefit of files ready to go is good for taking care of my trifecta. For me, I also have to spend some time cleaning the house and make sure any projects are contained and organized.

If you know your trifecta, you can act pretty quickly any time you notice it occuring. Taking care of your trifecta of chaos brings your smile back quickly and allows you to think clearly.

Special care for patients.

For patients who are confused by little things, I need to be attentive to the little things that make them function better. Sometimes, it's making sure they have a pen and paper to be a able to jot things down, or a warmed blanket to help them feel more cosy or simply me letting someone close to them know they are fine.

Take home about the trifecta of chaos.

It's the little things that disrupt us, but it's taking care of the little things that make us feel cared for. Know your trifecta and also those of people you care about.


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