Total immersion into patient care today – across state lines and time zones, after a pause for family and fellowship – it was a steady stream of encounters and an invitation to see health in action. Listening to patients, hearing the health in their stories, seeing it in their eyes, encountering it in their physical being and observing it move with greater ease with encouragement from treatment.
There are common patterns on exam, techniques most frequently used, similar threads of challenge and success in the stories, but each person’s encounter was unique to their need at that particular moment in time.
My own engagement with the day was impacted by an ease-in wake-up rather than the workout I had initially considered. An unexpected rain – most welcome in the dry days of August in Southern Oregon – shifted my transportation from biking to walking. Encountering the town at a pedestrian pace, taking in the familiar paths, patronizing favorite establishments and grounding in the intention for the day was a welcome beginning.
Recognizing the challenges of my time away for patients, my schedule was extended, shifting my anticipated after-work plans and an unanticipated meeting augmented them further. That workout was becoming less and less likely, reminding me why the early morning schedule has been most successful in the past. I surrendered to the intensity of the schedule, growing evening hunger and the desire not to encounter a mountain lion on a run during the most likely time of sighting.
Evening dinner proved a wise choice with opportunity to share time with a friend, expressing the excitement held for this fellowship and hearing of her adventures of the two weeks since last we met.
Learning to integrate all aspects of life continues to prove a meaningful challenge. Finding continuity in the role of osteopathic health policy fellow during the in-person meetings as well as on my own in the personal and professional moments of everyday life is an inspiringopportunity to carry new mindset into each encounter – with patients, friends, family, appointments, expectations, community and environment.
Through the lens of greater good, with heightened awareness of the broader perspective and a dedication to equity there is opportunity to influence health for the better in each moment. With connection to my classmates across the country and the depth of experience of our leaders, directors and presenters there is invitationto use our voice, knowing it is magnified by the volume and power of a seasoned collective.
With an acceptance of the shift in priorities and a growing understanding of the best and most practical use of my time, talent and energy, I move past the disappointment of unchecked boxes on today’s to-do list and into the celebration of the successful moments, accomplished tasks and see the health in the full engagement of everyday life.
Led by the example of our course directors who, upon processing feedback from participants, modified the timeline for our first assignment. Maintaining the ultimate deadline and volume of work – there are and will always be non-negotiables – while creating flexibility with intermediary steps, they demonstrate the capacity for customization and the space for humanity. May we grant ourselves and each other the same graces, making breathing room for health.