Lessons I Learnt Today…

I like to think that everyday I learn something new or that an old lesson is reiterated; today has been no exception so far. As I was seeing my patients this morning, a number of lessons were reinforced to me, please note that each of these may be completely unrelated to the other, here goes:

1. You cannot afford to not have health insurance.
I live in Barbados, where public healthcare is free to all citizens and permanent residents. Our healthcare system is pretty decent, but as with any decent system, it has it’s drawbacks. One of those drawbacks is that we have very limited resources for a not-so-little population (relatively speaking, of course! We are 260,000 on 166 square miles. You do the Math.) especially as it relates to highly specialised health services. The fallout of that is that if you need to have a highly specialised procedure done like yesterday and there is a backlog of appointments for said procedure for the next 10 months, and you can’t afford to pay to have that procedure done privately even though you’d be able to get an appointment like tomorrow and you have no health insurance that may cover the costs…you will be left in dire straits.

I suspect the situation is even more dire for those living in countries where free health care sounds like an urban legend. There are lots of arguments against insurance generally, but I personally feel that good (or even average!) health insurance coverage is a necessity that should not be overlooked. None of us knows what tomorrow may bring, so better to be prepared for the worst.

2. Communication is very important
I cannot read minds. I am pretty sure that you cannot either. You see someone doing something and you assume that you know why they’re doing it and their thought process behind it. I know because I have done it myself. Very rarely, does anyone stop to consider possibilities for someone’s actions other than what we have already come up with.
Instead of assuming that you know why someone said/did or didn’t say/didn’t do something wouldn’t it make more sense to ASK them why or what their thought process is?
Because in my own interactions with others I try as much as possible to remind myself that, no, Lesley, that person may actually have done/said that for another reason and *gasp* the reason may have nothing at all to do with you. Since adopting that attitude I have tried to demonstrate that level of thinking to my patients especially. Example: Patient says her son doesn’t want to take her to the supermarket after Pilates and he prefers to just be given a list to buy her items for her but that frustrates her because she doesn’t mind going to Pilates and relaxing in the car until he is done then she will go to the supermarket and pick her items up, including anything she may have forgotten on her list. She believes that he is being selfish.
My response was:
1. Have you ever told him that you don’t mind sitting waiting in the car (because let’s be honest, who likes waiting in a car for an hour?). Her response was, “No.”
2. Maybe he isn’t being selfish at all but instead is being thoughtful because he believes that you may get frustrated waiting in the car for his class to finish, so he may be offering to buy you the items because he considers that this is being helpful to you.
The look on her face was as though a lightbulb in her head had just been switched on. Now had there been more communication, e.g. her telling him that she doesn’t mind waiting, then the hurt feelings and frustration MAY have been avoided.

My point here is that people need to communicate more often and more effectively. Say what you are thinking when you are thinking it and invite others with whom you interact to do the same. Stop assuming that someone knows what you mean to say or do and make a conscious effort to stop subconsciously treating others like mindreaders. Most importantly, stop taking the words and actions of others so personally, everyone has something else going on, the world does not now, and did not ever, revolve around you!

3. Worrying is a huge waste of time.
More than half the things we worry will happen never do and even if they do we end up effectively dealing with them. Worry gets you nowhere. Stop it. It’s like sitting on a rocking chair going back and forth and expecting to end up at your final destination.

Additonally, worrying plays on your mind, stops you from eating, stops you from sleeping, stops you from smiling (all the above are my favourite things to do by the way, I therefore have no time for worry) and eventually makes you physically sick. And if you don’t have health insurance see Lesson 1 above.
Stop it. Everything happens for a reason. God has a plan. The Universe is perfectly ordered. Relax and enjoy the ride.

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Have a great week!

xo.

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