I have always had this fascination and love for medicine, health, and helping people. At one point, like most young girls, I wanted to be a veterinarian. I even studied Animal Veterinary Science at the University of Rhode Island in the first half of my college career. Although I did not end up going on to Veterinary School, I do still love the profession and even today I continue to keep my baby toe nestled in the field.
When I say that I love ‘medicine’, I mean the field of medicine not the pharmaceutical drugs or the focus of treating only disease. I may actually mean health or healthcare. To me, our health, and diagnosing, is like a story. What’s going on? What is not being said? What do the clues tell you? What other questions need to be asked? This is especially true in the veterinary field because your patients cannot speak, you must pay attention to the subtle messages that the body provides. Also, in my experience, many pet owners lie, misinform, and/or just don’t know the answers, so that information has to be considered carefully.
Because of my education and my work experience, I am pretty good at triage, even for people’s health. Sometimes, I am even spot on in my diagnosis. I think what I am pretty good at knowing what questions to ask. I have had enough experience in veterinary emergency medicine, surgery, and routine care (as well as parenthood and my own health) to have acquired a good baseline and understand how systems relate (thank you BS in Biology).
I remember one day when I was working as a healthcare data analyst, a co-worker of mine was not feeling well. I think she thought she had a sinus infection and was unsure about going to see a doctor (if my memory serves). I was asking her questions like… “Do you have a fever?”, “Do you have pain or pressure in your face, jaw, or ears?”, “Do you have a colored nasal discharge?”, “Are you sneezing?”. These questions can help you start to determine if you have bacterial infection, viral infection, or allergies. They are in no way a means of obtaining a true diagnoses but they can give you information to help you determine if and when you should see a doctor.
As I was trying to help my friend, another co-worker came over and said “YOU ARE NOT A DOCTOR!” She was adamant that I was overstepping my boundaries and my abilities. I knew she was going through her own health problems at the time and this comment was somehow hitting home for her. I was just trying to help. However, this event has stuck with me all these years. This made me ask myself…Do I seem like a know-it-all? Am I way off base?
To me, I am not trying to be a know-it-all. I am trying to use my skills and my knowledge to help others who may not have the same level of experience and understanding of their health and medicine. Maybe her comments are why I always feel like I need to go to school…to prove that I am qualified to help.
Well, this is a moment of personal clarity by writing, WOW! I have never connected these 2 things before. By following this train of thought I just connected some dots that have always eluded me. Now I can start to remove those negative messages from my being and let go. This is a prime example of how journaling, reflecting, writing, can help you process feelings and thoughts. As you free write, you may access thoughts that you didn’t know you had…like I had just now. When struggling with thoughts, start writing what comes to mind. They just might lead you somewhere you never imagined.
Anyway, I have really tried to maintain a balance between helping and over-helping. Until recently. When I started trusting that this is my journey (note my blog and my photo-wellness class). In some way, this is what I am meant to do. I don’t need to be a doctor to know how to help people or help them find medical help. I have come to realize that I have really good instincts, especially when it comes to physical and emotional health.
So, you can imagine my joy when I realized my daughter carries these same “proclivities”. Twice now at school, she has intervened to help with a medical condition a friend was experiencing but not seeking help for. In one of these instances, her friend was having a peanut allergy attack and was dismissing her symptoms as nothing because she wasn’t having breathing problems. Jordan insisted she go to Health Services where the doctor diagnosed her as having an allergy attack to peanuts that were unsuspectingly in her dinner. She was treated and her symptoms were caught before they got life-threatening. Although Jordan was wrongly convinced that her friend was having an appendicitis attack, due to her self-proclaimed knowledge of medicine from watching “Grey’s Anatomy”, she still trusted her instincts that SOMETHING was wrong and needed professional medical attention. That’s the instinct. The diagnosis may be wrong, but reading the signs was not.
All I know is that she was a natural and continues to demonstrate that this is part of her journey too. Obviously, she gets some of that from me and living with my constant focus on health, but acting on your instincts has to come from within…the confidence to trust yourself and the determination to do what’s right. I am so proud of her. Her friends are lucky to have someone so aware and so caring on their side. Someone who is not afraid to be wrong. Who knows its better to be safe than sorry.
Maybe this was a proud mama post.
Maybe this was a trust your instincts, do what you love, post.
In the end, I want us all to know that we must all follow our heart and trust in our journey. Even when others don’t support it.
You know in your heart what is best for you. Do not let others deter you from your path.
Be your best you!