When I first drafted this post, October was coming to an end. A year had passed since the diagnosis. Up to that point, I’ve been free from cardiorespiratory symptoms for 6 months, and off medication for 4. As you would expect, I was eager to celebrate this major milestone. I was finally on my road to recovery and making real progress health-wise. I had my health back and felt that the time was right for me to share some of the lessons that I’ve learnt for the past year with my readers.
I had my health back and felt that the time was right for me to share some of the lessons that I’ve learnt for the past year with my readers.
But, things don’t always go as planned. Less than a week later, the symptoms came back and recurrence was confirmed (I promise I’ll write more about it soon). Now, as I try to pick up where I left off, I know that this post is no longer celebratory like it was first drafted to be and perhaps a little too late. Luckily, despite the changed circumstances, the lessons I learnt along the way had remained the same. And I am forever thankful to be have been given another chance to write about it. I hope someone, somewhere will find this post a tiny bit useful.
So, here is one lesson for every category of readers. The lesson I picked for each is the lesson that I feel strongly about when I put myself in the shoes of those in the category. Also, I believe it is the lesson that will produce the greatest good once embodied. These lessons are based purely on my experiences and are only to be taken as it is – personal suggestions.
For patients: Every cloud has a silver lining
It is never easy to hear a life-altering diagnosis. Hearing it for the umpteenth time is not going to be any easier than the first. But you know what they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. A sure-fire way to rise from the ashes is to allow yourself to see the good even in the worst of things. Being grateful for sometimes bitter life lessons will help you accept the circumstances thrown your way and move on. You just have to be a willing student and learn, in your own time. Grieve if you must, but remember there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Only in the darkness can you see the stars.
Martin Luther King Jr.
For healthcare professionals: Find your mission, then pursue it
What separates great doctors from the rest isn’t just knowledge and skills, but rather their sense of purpose. After being a patient for many years, I came to learn that great doctors are always clear about their missions and are unapologetic in pursuing them. Deeper understanding and strong passion, which results from the doctors’ unambiguous aim, become extremely valuable to those they serve. So, find your mission and then pursue it relentlessly, and know that you are making an impact in your patients’ lives.
Your vision will become clear when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.
For healthcare administrators: Be a patient
I recommend you (healthcare administrators) to ‘be a patient’, for at least once throughout your careers. Just pretend to be a patient for one day. Don’t get me wrong. I do not wish for sickness upon you or anybody, but I do believe that ‘being a patient’ will change your perspective and make you a rather valuable observer of the healthcare system. You would then be able to create significant change given your privileges. If you are ‘lucky’ and have experienced it firsthand like me, use it to your advantage. Embrace the patient experience and see your insights change.
The only source of knowledge is experience.
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