As a patient, one must possess a multitude of skills. We become our own administrative assistant by scheduling our medical appointments and the phone calls, paperwork and documentation involved in coordinating our care. We fill the role of a medical biller as we decipher, pay and file our bills, and keep up-to-date on all of the details with our health insurance. Our daily regimen of medicine looks like a miniature pharmacy and we become our own pharmacy technician as we coordinate and order our medicine. Going to doctor appointments, getting blood work performed and taking the best care of ourselves consumes a lot of time. This is just a sliver of what patients must handle. No matter how consuming our health challenges may be, though, we are way more than just patients.
We all have varying interests that make us tick. Such as different goals, pet peeves, talents, inspirations, hobbies, personality traits and things that bring us great joy. It recently dawned on me that when I am asked to share a little bit about myself, I instantly think of my PKD and transplant. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because these are a big part of my life, and I am very actively involved in the PKD and transplant community. However, there is a lot more to me than my health issues. I thought it would be fun today to take the patient characteristics out of the equation and talk about what makes us who we are. Who am I?
I am a grateful daughter. My parents are extraordinary people who gave me the best environment to mature into the happy and strong woman that I am today. I am a blessed wife to share my life with Noah. I am a faithful and supportive friend. I am a soulful writer. I am an adventurer at heart. I am an old soul. I am a mom to our sweet cat, Mister KaliKat ManCoon, who brings me great happiness. I have an eternally hopeful spirit and put as much joy and exuberance out into the world and have received such amazing opportunities in return.
I believe my core personality traits have been with me since I was a little girl. I always had the utmost respect for my parents and concern about the feelings of others. I was quiet and I enjoyed the company of older people. My neighbors were like grandparents to me and I would hang out with them. My ‘grandfather’ Walter taught me how to read and do short and long division. I really enjoyed his company and I was always overly prepared for school, thanks to him. As a little girl with an old soul, Walter was a perfect neighbor and grandfather figure. However, the pie that his wife fed me every day did not help my growing little belly or my appetite for my mom’s dinner. Oops! I loved to use my chalkboard to teach my stuffed animals, which I would position in a line on my bed. I interned as a kindergarten teacher in 11th and 12th grade and had the desire to become a teacher.
Here are some random thoughts about myself, some silly, some serious: I have a goal of starting my own non-profit. One of my pet peeves is when people chew with their mouth open and consistent noises like the ticking of a clock. I sang alto in my school choir and participated in a couple of school plays. I played piano for a short time and was really good at it, and I regret not keeping up with it. I am very good at memorizing and enjoyed math and numbers. I am left-handed and double-jointed. Coffee drink of choice is Starbucks, tall, white chocolate Frappuccino, non-fat, no whip and double blended. I love cooked sushi rolls and ice cream. Nature inspires me and I love to travel, explore and hike. There is nothing more peaceful than the sound of water and watching the light glisten on water.
So, when asked to share a little bit about ourselves, it is important to realize that we are all individuals who started as young children and grew up into the strong fighters that we are today. We are wives, husbands, parents, etc. who have goals, inspirations, hobbies and certain special characteristics that make us who we are. Many of us deal with health issues on a daily basis, which serve as constant reminders of our PKD, but let’s never lose sight that we are way more than just patients.
How would you respond when asked, “Who are you?”