"To make a difference, understand differences."
As I left my house this morning, I made sure I was equipped with hand sanitizer, Clorox sanitation wipes, extra gloves, and a backup mask (just in case). At the doctor's office I was ready with my well-rehearsed list of ailments and symptoms, and felt very prepared for what I assumed would be the same process I have had over the past five weeks. But it wasn't. Something happened, for which I was unprepared…
The doctor came in, told me to take off my mask, and began to look and engage with my illness, instead of checking boxes on a symptomatic list. In a very explicit, and powerful way, he removed the label (as evidenced by the mask), and saw me…just me, sans the implied diagnosis. He sat with, and listened to me. He made note of all my symptoms, performed the correct tests (none of which were an additional COVID nasal invasion), and helped me identify, and more clearly understand what was happening underneath all of my ailments. And, together we came up with a protocol for my specific condition.
I Felt Worry and Anxiety Start to Slip Away
I left the doctor's office feeling a comforting sense of relief. As I was walking back to my car, mask securely in place, I thought about the movie I had watched the night before; the Coen brothers' cult classic, The Big Lebowski. In the movie, the song playing during the bowling dream sequence is the late Kenny Rogers & The First Edition 1967 classic, "I Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In.)" With the chorus reverberating in my head, I felt some of the worry and anxiety start to slip away.
When I got to my car, it occurred to me the relief and comfort I felt wasn't about feeling physically better in that instant. I wasn't leaving with bandages, symptom masking cures, or quick fix solutions that I could add to my COVID fighting arsenal. Furthermore, I knew that I still had some hard and uncomfortable days ahead, where my symptoms would continue to take their toll.
What I did have, however, was an empathetic doctor who listened, asked questions to better understand my experience, took an interest in my health, and met me where I was. When I dropped in to see what condition my condition was in, my doctor threw out the diagnostic checklist, and gave me a personalized map to wellness, accelerating my recovery so I can reinsert myself back into the relationships and situations that matter most.