All posts by David Moseman

Dream to hurt or hurt to dream?

What do dreams and pain have in common? We have all had nightmares that awakened us in fear and trembling. Those dreams have often contain frightening experiences remembered or imagined. But do painful experiences cause us to dream? No I don’t mean that your sleeping in some uncomfortable position. No, I don’t mean that stubbing your toe will make you dream.

When that stubbed toe hurts long enough we may wish for a day when it didn’t. What other pains to we have in our lives and how do they make us dream? People often ask me, “do you want your site back?” And the real answer is I’m not sure.

My limited eyesight reminds me daily that I am limited. It reminds me that I must depend on others. It reminds me how dependable others are. Recently I wrote about helping and being helped and how the two are hard to distinguish.

There was a time when I felt like I could do almost anything. Sometimes I still do. In reality I’ve always been limited. I was not the best athlete in school, yet I felt I could be a better athlete with practice. I found few opportunities to play sports. I realize that because I wore glasses and they would not stay in place there were many sports my eyesight limited me in.

What do I want out of my life? That has been a quest upon which I have spent several years. For a while I just let things happen, to see what would happen. I then asked what can I still do? In trying to read computer screens I realized I needed a screen reader. Going back to school taught me that I still love to learn and could do so. I learned I could still write and many people enjoy what I write. However all that is in the present.

Dreams are not just about the past but also the future. None of us know for certain what the future holds. If we have a dream we can shape our future. In college I decided to go to medical school. That dream has shaped much of my life and who I am. My strong grounding in science makes it challenging for me to accept alternative modes of healing. Yet, as I look around I see many people who have been helped by those modes. I am writing a series of blogs about those alternative healing modalities.

This blog is the first in a series looking at symptoms. Pain is the most common symptom that brings people to a doctor. Doctors spend much time and effort trying to treat pain, and have made great strides in the recent decades. Many people continue to have chronic pain and find Western medicine to be grossly inadequate. When Western medicine tries to evaluate these other means they usually find them ineffective. Yet, some people clearly benefit from them.

What is the benefit of pain? Pain is a strong motivator. If I am hurrying down the street about the only thing that will get me to stop is a stone in my shoe. Would I rather be taking a stone out of my shoe or getting to where I was in such a hurry to get?

But when we are in pain we have a new reality. That stone in my shoe meant I had to put something before my destination. When we become ill we have to set our dreams aside at least for a while. Over the last several years I have had the opportunity to evaluate my life. I realize I never had a clear dream for my life. I wish I had sat down with a life coach and considered the possibilities. Now that I suffer from poor vision I have the chance to dream of what my life can be. Part of that dream is to help others dream of their new lives.

How has pain made you dream? Is your life better because you hurt?

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

coach Dr. Dave

author of the forthcoming book, “recipes for lemonade(thriving through disability): Dave’s personal recipe “.

Your Doctor Won’t Cure you

Ever wonder why doctors don’t talk about curing their patients? No it is not that is an ethical to advertise that you cured somebody. No it is not that they are afraid of setting themselves up for a malpractice suit. When I practiced medicine I couldn’t cure the patients. It is not that we don’t know what will cure you. D

Western medicine works on the model of disease. We believe that what makes you ill is a disease. We can give you an antibiotic to kill the bacteria that is giving you a pneumonia. We can cut out the cancer. However in both cases your body will have to clean up the mess. What the doctor did allow your body to heal itself. Together Western medicine and the patient affects the cure.

Why then do alternative medicines often talk about curing you? Alternative forms of medicine see illness differently. They see illness as the result of the body’s inability to fight disease. Chiropractic medicine sees the body as being out of alignment. Acupuncture sees the body is needing to focus its energy. Homeopathy sees a spiritual connection in the material you drink with the illness. Faith healing sees a spiritual dimension to what ails you.

Western preventive medicine does some of this. Immunizations like the flu shot teach the Body how to fight the infection when it comes along. Public health measures such as ensuring safe drinking water and nutritious foods allow our bodies to grow and be healthy.. However Western public health is still trapped in the disease model. In fact it was pioneers in public health who helped to establish the disease model.

In upcoming blogs I will explore more of these ideas of health and illness. Be sure to subscribe in the box to the right. Then you will not miss any of these.

What do you think of these ideas? How do you view health and illness?

As All Ways Seek Joy,

Coach Dr. Dave

Author of the upcoming book, “Recipes for Lemonade (thriving through disability): Dr. Dave’s personal recipe”


Will I ever Grow Up?

I feel like a two-year-old always asking questions, as if I never understood the answer. I just looked at the “Disability Challenges Survey” I posted a couple weeks ago. Only 12 people have responded, so it is hard to make generalizations. It gives me more questions than answers. I probably should’ve expected this. My father research scientists always said, quote with every answer there comes to more questions”.


The first question was to give me some idea what type of disability people had. There seem to be as many physical and mental and emotional disabilities. I was surprised that no one thought they had a spiritual disability. For most of the world spirituality is part of health. Americans are and exception to this rule. Yet, we are more church going than most industrialized countries. This will give a spotter for further discussions on Facebook and in this blog.


The second question asked about the duration of the disability. As I expected some had been born with a disability some had acquired a disability in some sense said they became aware of the disability. I inserted the latter two categories because I don’t know when I became legally disabled. My condition was slowly progressive. I knew early on I couldn’t pass the physical to drive a truck. It was only many years later that I had to stop driving a car.


The third question asks about how we felt about our lives. Most felt pretty good about their lives and the disability did not diminish the satisfaction much. One’s satisfaction with their ability to work seemed equal to their ability to care for themselves. I will want to see if the same people felt the same about their self-care and work.


The fourth question asked about satisfaction with factors outside of our immediate control. People seemed most unhappy with their medical care and Social Security. This does not seem to be surprising, since most disabled people spend a lot of their energies and time with medical care and the Social Security system. People felt good about their family and friends. At work their employers seem slightly more supportive than her coworkers. I have been active in many faced based groups advocating for disability services. I often see many barriers in churches. It surprised me that faith communities were very supportive.


The fifth question asks about what changes people would like to see. Medicare and Social Security led the list. In this small survey one person complained that their family treated them the same as they did prior to the hearing loss. There also seem to be a desire to have others treat them better.


The seventh question asks about assistance and what type of assistance people would like. I am not surprised that finding work led the list. The disabled person is twice as likely as an able-bodied person to be unemployed. Relationships with families and family and friends were good.


When asked how optimistic or pessimistic they were about their future, people tended to have a good attitude about the future and their personal future. They were not as optimistic about finding work or being able to care for themselves.


These are preliminary observations. I hope more will answer the survey. More answers will give me more certainty as to what disabled people feel. If you know of others or groups that might not have been asked to take the survey please ask them to take it at

As All Ways Seek Joy,

Coach DR Dave

Author of the forthcoming book, “Recipes for Lemonade (thriving through disability): Dr. Dave’s personal Recipe”.


Helping that is what the man in a wheelchair was trying to do as he held the bus door open. He asked, “Are you getting off?”
“No, my connection is at the next stop.” the man replied.
I thought this was interesting that a disabled person was trying to help an able-bodied person. Why is it that we do or do not want to help? For me I’ve always enjoyed helping, but like most men have been hesitant to ask for help. Becoming disabled has made me rethink this.
Now there are many things I wish I could do but can’t. I can’t read street signs. I don’t see well enough to drive. I often struggle to read the bus numbers. Do I get on the bus and hope it’s going where I want to go or ask somebody first?
I hesitated to ask for help for several reasons. First off it would indicate that I was not fully capable. This idea of being independent and capable of doing everything for me was important to me. I had grown up watching the Lone Ranger and similar shows with an independent hero. Now I’ve come to wonder who made the Lone Ranger’s saddle. The Lone Ranger was an individual in a larger system that was interdependent.
The other day in the locker room I noticed someone had a talking watch. This told me he too could not read a regular watch. We started up a conversation on why or why not to carry a white cane.
The question of whether or not to carry a white cane leads to another issue about asking for help. The white cane isn’t just a tool for me but tells others that I don’t see things. Initially I was afraid of being taken advantage of. Then I had a couple missteps and had to take a few flying leaps, to avoid falling down steps. The white cane now tells the bus driver and others that I probably can’t read the bus number. They readily volunteer the number, which helps immensely.
Why would they want to help? For the bus driver it is part of the job. Others readily volunteer their assistance. When I can help others I feel a sense of connectedness. When others help me I also feel connected. I no longer feel alone and vulnerable. I do not have to do everything for myself.
Helping and being helped is like moving a table. I can pick up and move the table myself, but it is awkward and I am apt to bang things. If someone takes the other end we can move it easily and safely. We might even carry two tables at a time, thus maintaining the efficiency.
What is about helping that you like or dislike? I would be interested in hearing your comments.
As always seek joy,
Coach DR. Dave

The reasons for disability coaching

Coaching somebody who’s facing the possibility of disability may seem like a waste. However, most people with the disability have many abilities. To bring those abilities fourth requires help and perseverance. There are many people willing and able to diagnose, retrain, or assist in daily tasks. None of these people have the focus and perspective of helping a person find a meaningful life with a disability.

Disability coaches are health or life coaches whose focus is on helping people with disabilities. Unlike a wellness or health coach who paints a rosy picture of life if you just do this or that. a disability coach knows you will have struggles. Disability coaches know you have good days and bad days. Disability coaches know what it’s like to struggle to get out of bed in the morning. Disability coaches know you’re not superhuman. Disability coaches are willing to roll up their sleeves and help you grapple with the down and dirty of life.

Disability coaches know life is not a matter of a simple fix. Life is a matter of struggle compromise and perseverance. It involves the whole of ones being. The disability coaches not just interested in one aspect of your life but the whole of your life. The whole of your life includes your physical well-being your emotional well-being your social well-being and your spiritual well-being.

Health coaches for the most part focus on your physical well-being. They are usually paid for by insurance companies. The insurance companies justify paying them because your medical bills will be less. However, are you interested in what it costs to find a way to do what you need to do to live?

Mental health professionals are trained in helping you get your life back together. They are good at dealing with depression and other mental illnesses. They too are paid for by insurance companies. Their goal usually is in helping you function. If you are depressed and can’t get out of bed, your ability to get dressed and visit their office is a success. However is struggling to get out of bed get dressed into an appointment really living? Disability and health coaches want to see you live to your fullest potential.

Spiritual coaches usually come from one spiritual tradition. Thus, there are Christian coaches and coaches from other faith traditions. Other spiritual coaches seem to have great trouble in explaining what they actually do.

There are job coaches out there. Their job is to help you find and hold onto a job. They had many tools to figure out what you’ll be good at and what the market wants. But having a job and working is not just a matter of skills; it is also a matter of getting along with people. If the attitudes of your employer and coworkers make you feel like an outsider, your ability to concentrate and perform well will be limited.

Disability coaches know you have limitations. Disability coaches focus on the whole of your life. Disability coaches work for you. Disability coaches know living with the disability is an ongoing challenge. Many disability coaches call themselves chronic disease coaches because the chronic disease is what is causing disability.

As a health or life coach focusing on disabilities, I am using my experience going blind to help me understand this process better. I am working on a book called, “recipes for lemonade thriving through disability: Dr. Dave’s personal recipe”. I am also surveying those who have a disability to discover the breadth and depth of the problems disabled persons face. If you wish to participate in this survey you may go to
As always seek joy
Coach Dr. Dave (disabled)

Memorial Day; remembering the dead disabled and grieving

On this weekend we remember those who have sacrificed for the benefit of us all. In the last 10 years many have risked their lives to defend our country. Ninety=six percent of those injured in combat survive to face their injuries. Most of those injured suffered physical injuries. We hear more about the emotional injuries than the physical injuries. Neither type of injury is easy to live with. Then there are those whose injury is grief over the loss of a loved one. However, society benefits from the heroics of those who serve.
The societal benefit goes beyond just the feeling of security and power that comes from waging a war on foreign soil. We know there are brave people among us who would stand up to protect us in time of emergency. While we commonly see this in natural or other domestic disasters there are those who would step forward to go overseas. This next mix of heroes domestic and foreign we should thank regularly. Yet all too often in our squabbles over what we should do as a nation, police and the military get caught in the middle.
Our society gains more than just the physical security from the force of our police and military. In any conflict new technologies are tested and improved. We may debate the utility of drones, but they are finding civilian uses. The rapid treatment of injuries learned on the battlefield is now commonplace In Trauma care .The emotional toll of war is also becoming clear. We now realize that there is trauma in many common domestic situations. Witnesses to childhood traumas and the victims of childhood traumas frequently experience posttraumatic stress. Rape victims and children going to foster care also experience high rates of PTSD. For some of these groups the rate is higher than combat veterans.
We now call the emotional consequence of trauma posttraumatic stress disorder or PTSD. I know a man who served in Vietnam and only recently realized he had PTSD. He now speaks openly about it and has been able to get assistance for it.
To cope with PTSD one must first recognize that it may be occurring. Anyone who reacts with major fear to reminders of a major traumatic event is likely to have PTSD. Many of them will avoid such reminders, and in time will find those triggers less alarming. Not everyone who has been exposed to a major trauma will develop PTSD. The symptoms may begin weeks to months after the event. Anyone who thinks they are experiencing PTSD should seek experienced professional medical attention.
Many of us experience some anxiety after traumatic events, but this is not PTSD. It is an acute stress reaction and can also be debilitating. After I was in an automobile collision every time I pass that place I would remember. Initially I would be anxious and worried as well. Over time it became just a memory. Sometimes I would not recall it at all.
We now know that the emotional intensity of the initial trauma is seared deeply into our brains. Thus the neural pathways affected are easily stimulated. To heal the response to various triggers need to be replaced by something less frightening. Thus refusing to react with emotion can be one such defense. Trained professional counselors will help to provide a safe place and in that safe place to introduce and monitor the response to normal events that may trigger the memory. Medications can help but they need to be used in a formal treatment program.
A life coach, friend, physician or clergy can help with minor problems. When severe or persistent symptoms exist you should be referred to trained and experienced counselors. Once a victim of PTSD has returned to a seemingly normal life a coach and other friends may help them go forward.
On this Memorial Day let us respect and give thanks to those who risk so much on our behalf. I am sure we all wish no one would have to risk PTSD. Yes I am sure some who experienced the tornado in Oklahoma this past week will suffer PTSD, also.
As All Ways, seek Joy,
Coach DR. Dave (MD disabled)

Forgive the Boston Marathon Bombing to Journey beyond Disability?

Is this a prescription for injustice? Is this condoning the Boston Marathon bombing? For all those who have truly found a way to forgive a grievance they know it is not. Fred Luskin in his book quote Forgive for Good: a proven Prescription for Health, Happiness, Drive”, defines forgiveness as, “an experience of peace and understanding that can be felt in the present moment. He does not see forgiveness as condoning and act. Neither does it prevent an injured party from participating in the justice process. What forgiveness does is to allow the injured party to move on with their life.
When we see ourselves as the sufferers of injustice we become stuck emotionally and physically in the event. It becomes the central story of our lives. For those who ran the Boston Marathon it replaced the achievement of running a marathon. Which story would you rather live with, one of hard work and dedication, or one of victimization?
When we choose to become a victim, we live the victim’s story. Our bodies recurrently return to the event. When we return to that event we feel the dread and horror that happened. Reliving that event our brains send out stress hormones as they did in that event. Those hormones helped us respond to the event. Now they impede healing. Adrenaline prevents blood flow to injured tissues. Cortisol prevents healing of those tissues. These are no longer helpful hormones. By learning to forgive, the brain can again send out messages to heal the body.
Heroes are clearly what the runners of the Boston Marathon were. They dedicated significant parts of their lives to this achievement. Now they need to dedicate significant parts of their lives to creating a life beyond the injury. Yet, I have seen many people who struggled to forgive.
The people I saw struggling to forgive were always talking about the event. When they came into my medical office that was always in the conversation. If there was a lawsuit involved I heard about how that was progressing. Yet, I could do little to help that. As their physician I was there to help them heal. I could do little with the emotional pain and my efforts at the physical pain were limited by their failure to forgive.
Luskin describes how those who failed to forgive are stuck in a grievance. To hold a grievance they must hold onto the expectation that harm should not come to them. They then made the story of harm their story. To discover if you’re holding onto a grievance ask yourself the following; do I think more about this event then I do the good things in my life.
Luskin describes how his techniques can help a victim choose to become a hero. He has researched and developed these techniques in many people’s lives. Some have suffered the common trauma of divorce and others the uncommon trauma of living through the Northern Ireland Civil War. In all cases the healing started by seeing that they were holding a grievance. When the victim realized they had a choice they began to heal. Luskin’s techniques are well described and too complicated for me to describe here. For most people a support system will be necessary. For a few friends and family will be adequate. Many will need the support and guidance of a counselor coach or formal group.
In my forthcoming book, recipes for lemonade, thriving through disability, Dr. Dave’s personal recipe”,
” I will describe how I was fortunate to journey through this. But without formal and directed support it took me longer than it could have.
As always I would love to hear your responses to these thoughts and ideas.
As All Ways, Seek Joy,
Coach Dr. Dave

The Boston Marathon bombing, journeying beyond disability, the next day

Now as the horror of the Boston Marathon bombing fades in our memories, it will still be very much alive for the 260 people injured in that blast. Today they are confronting the real barrier in their journey beyond disability. They like many of us are angry at the bombers and do not want to associate with them. Many of them will choose to join in wanting to punish the family of the dead bomber. Some will not want him to be buried on American soil. For those harmed injured in the blast this can become an all-consuming passion. However, where will they be in five or 10 years if they continue to focus their energy here?
If they are to enjoy their lives in their new bodies they will need to let others deal with the bombers. When they allow their anger to persist the creative parts of their brains will not work as well. They will need creativity to help them learn new ways to live in their new bodies. However, stifling their anger will not help. This is where sharing their anger with others will help. In an ideal situation they will receive group therapy facilitated by trained counselors. In such a situation they will find that they are not alone in her anger and receive comfort and sharing that anger. Any nightmares or flashbacks will be accepted as part of the process. As they feel love and acceptance the negative emotions will be put to rest. They will gradually return to their former selves. But the former sells will be different they will have different bodies and different memories. Events will be able to trigger those memories. This is called posttraumatic stress.
This whole process is that of forgiveness. It doesn’t mean they will ever forget what happened. For those with major injuries they will be reminded of this event daily. They now have the task of making a new life in a new body. It is like becoming a teenager again in midlife. They will have to discover the capabilities and their limitations. Armed with that understanding of who they are they can now dream again of a future life.
How they transition through this second adolescence will vary. Most people with the self-discipline and determination to run a marathon will want to go forward. They think of themselves as capable and are willing to undertake seemingly superhuman tasks. It would be surprising to find any of them stuck in self-pity. True there will be times when they feel depressed and overwhelmed. Depending upon how much support they get from others this may be a serious stumbling block or just a normal passing feeling. Physicians and others involved in a rehabilitation program are aware of this hazard, and hopefully will intervene early.
I saw this problem frequently when I was caring for people with new strokes. After the shock of the diagnosis and some initial return a function, there was a realization that a lot of work lay ahead. We physicians realize that early intervention was helpful in the overall outcome. Some studies had shown that the routine use of antidepressants improved function at one year. Many people are not accustomed to setting lofty goals and working hard to achieve them. Thus, they are more prone to getting overwhelmed and stuck in depression than are people who would run a marathon.
What will the road forward look like for those injured in the Boston Marathon bombing? I hope to explore that in next week’s blog.
If you would like to comment or share this blog feel free. I know that forgiveness is a tough thing to achieve. Turning once focus from one’s loss to want future is critical to achieving a joy filled life.
As always, seek joy,
Coach Dr. Dave (MD disabled))

Are You Healthy?

If you ask most people they would say they are healthy. If you ask them to define what is Health they would start to say, “The absence of disease” and then pause. Our medical system can find a disease label to apply to almost anyone. How many Americans are overweight, wear glasses for “Myopia” or some other condition that affects their life in very minor ways?

I still consider myself healthy, even though I can no longer do many of the things I once did. When my eyesight failed I had to give up clinical medicine. I learned that people with far less or no eyesight lived full and seemingly normal lives. I learned how they do it. Armed with those skills I found ways to help in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.

I No longer see health as a set of standards. Standards that say you have such and such ability, but as functioning in ways similar to your peers. Thus health is relative and varies throughout life. A healthy infant cannot do what an adult does. An elderly person can no longer do what they did in their “Prime”.

What are the Aspects of Health?

We can break this functioning into four parts of our lives physical, mental spiritual and social. Most of us find the physical easy to understand. Mental is also fairly easy to grasp. The Spiritual is harder to understand. I see it as how we relate to the universe and the essence of others. Western Science has no way to describe or measure this. People throughout time have recognized this. Non-western societies experience this more too.

The vitality that results from living in a functioning community became all too apparent after hurricane Katrina. The illness I saw in Biloxi in the aftermath of that storm was appalling. In those who came to work and those who lived there developed physical illnesses that we do not see elsewhere. The emotional toll was apparent in the depression and suicide. Spiritually many asked, “Where is God?” As help poured in and over time the community came back together. The illnesses disappeared. We do not live alone. We are dependent on each other in ways we can hardly fathom.

Is this social health the outgrowth of our need for Love? I recently came across a study where baby monkeys were separated from their mothers. These infants were offered two surrogates. One a wire mesh structure with a feeding bottle and the second a soft, warm and fur covered one. The infants clung to the fur covered one and avoided the food. The Spiritual and social aspects of health might be ways for us to get the Love we desire, much like the infant monkeys.

So what makes you healthy?

Coach Dr. Dave (MD disabled)

The Boston Marathon a journey beyond disability

In the two weeks since the Boston Marathon bombing we have learned a lot. For many of those 260 runners and spectators who were injured, it will be the start of their journey beyond disability. While running a marathon is a journey in itself it is done intentionally. Now they will be running a journey not of their choosing. This is a journey no one takes by choice. It is the journey through disability.
In my last blog I talked about preparing for such a journey and how we don’t do it intentionally. But that the things we do to prepare ourselves and our children help us to prepare for this journey. These skills fall into two main categories emotional skills and social skills. The self-discipline and perseverance necessary for running a marathon will help the runners.
These skills become tested when we have to journey through disability. The first challenge with a disability is accepting the disability. Neither self-discipline nor perseverance will help with this. For people who lost limbs in the bombing it will take them a while to remember that they don’t have 2 feet or two arms. For the last 10 years, I have not seen well yet in my dreams everything appears crystal clear. I imagine for those injured two weeks ago their image of themselves will at times remain intact.
Learning to adjust to a new body will have its humorous moments as well as its tragic moments. When I look straight ahead I see nothing to the left of midline or below horizontal. My wife is short and on several occasions I have turned around and try to walk through her. She is big enough that we laugh about it, but when their small children around I fear kicking them across the room. I joke that my white cane is a kid catcher.
I did not initially think I needed a white cane, and I am sure that those injured in Boston will take a while to accept new ways of doing things. When I went to rehabilitation for my lost eyesight I focused on computer skills and using a white cane was an afterthought. I realized later that a white cane would be handy. When I was coming out of a meeting one evening, I found that I could not see the stairs. They were poorly lit and did not have a contrasting lip. I learned to use the cane but did not carry it regularly until I missed a flight of steps and had to take a flying leap. The white cane has saved me on many occasions since then.
Before we can get to the work of learning to live with a disability there are many other questions we ask. The world is asking why the Boston Marathon bombing occurred. Those injured will also ask themselves why I was the one to be injured. They will always ponder the question and may note that in their moment of triumph they entered this world of disability. Completing a marathon is something very few people do. When I tell people I ran marathons they react in dismay. For those injured in Boston that triumph will bring back the tragedy as well.
The tragedy is that after all their hard work and success they ended up with a damaged body. What was a victory became a loss. Many will not be able to run a marathon again. Actually they will not be able to repeat it the same way. People have run marathons with prostheses and in wheelchairs. But they first had to accept that they were not who they had been. There strong and vital bodies are no more.
For those of us who find ourselves disabled we do not initially want to accept it. If someone might have said I should be using a white cane from the beginning, I doubt I would have listened. I was afraid to carry a white cane and admit I could not see well. I feared others would take advantage of me. I have found that fear could be ungrounded. I have yet to have someone take advantage of me. People readily go out of their way to help me. My faith in other people has grown immensely because I now carry a white cane. I hope those injured in Boston will Find people who will help them confront their fears.
If you or someone you know would like to share their story of how they came to accept their disability I would love to hear. Please comment or share as you feel appropriate.
In All Ways, Seek Joy,
Coach Dr. Dave (MD)