Sunday, September 20, 2009

Solving the Problem

How often have you had the experience of suddenly discovering a simple solution to a longstanding or significant problem? One of those DUH moments, when you realize that you’ve been living with this difficulty that evaporates in an instant?

For instance, a few years back, I suddenly had something poking me in the bottom of my foot. It felt like a perpetual rock in my shoe. I lived with it for months until it made me crazy. I didn’t know which doctor to go to. Family doc? Foot doc? Skin doc? I finally opted for the foot doc. Wrong. This foot doc (and after this went down, believe me, I never went to that doc again) took X-rays and said I had something growing in my foot and he wasn’t sure what it was. He wanted to remove it surgically, which would require an outpatient hospital procedure, require me to spend a week on bed rest with the foot iced and elevated, and leave me on crutches for a month. I booked the surgery, dreading the ordeal. But I also called my dermatologist and ran in for an emergency visit. He diagnosed it immediately as a planter’s wart and removed it in his office for $35. End of story.

Here’s another example. One of my cats, Golda, is an orange tabby. Even though she’s a shorthair, she sheds like crazy. For four years I have tried to remember to pick her up only when I’m wearing house clothes, covered couches and chairs with easily removable fabrics (which I air fluff in the dryer periodically), often walked around covered in orange cat hair (when I forgot and picked her up in my going-out clothes), and didn’t pet her as much as I pet her non-shedding sister. Poor Golda. A few weeks ago, I bought a metal hoop designed to remove the shedded hair in cats and dogs. Every couple of days or so, I comb Golda with the hoop. Now her coat looks fabulous, she looks healthier (and happier), and she is no longer a shedding problem. I pick her up all the time and pet her. How simple was that?

These things give me pause. How many problems, big and small, would be so easy to resolve if only we could step back and take a new perspective, discover a tool for the job, get the right information, or use a different approach?

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