I’m often referred to by some as my friends as “Danielle M.D.” Affectionately nicknamed (I’m sure…), I am often picking up on someone’s slightest clue that they don’t feel well and trying to help them figure out why. While it ends up driving them crazy and freaked out that they have the strangest disease known to man, I like to think it helps widen their awareness of their bodies. Either way, I hope to make them realize that whatever the symptoms, it’s important to go see a doctor and get it checked out.
While it’s often a joke that all conversations with me turn medical (or poo-related), I started thinking the other day why that’s the case. I mean I’m not trying to sabotouge a fun time and be the downer. And good friends being candid about bathroom habits and funny body happenings is usually a good time. But even when I have no intention of bringing up the health-side of things – it always finds its way to come up when I’m around.
I’m realizing, or maybe just accepting, that this is life for me, and that it won’t change. And I’m not certain that it should, for that matter. My life was radically impacted by strange symptoms that went on way too long, and finally a doctor visit that ultimately saved my life. And while I know most of my friends aren’t dealing with life-threatening illnesses when they mention something’s wrong – I can’t help but be extreme and plead with them to get it checked out. You absolutely never know what’s happening until you get it checked out.
So while I might continue getting teased, or see a million eye rolls, as I continue to help people navigate through feelings of sickness and unhealth, I will wear my imaginary nurse’s hat with pride. Not because I have all of the answers, nor because I’m medically trained. In fact, it’s the opposite. It’s because part of my story is telling my story – and the message of prevention and care must go on. I had no idea what was wrong with me, but I wish that I would have shared my symptoms much earlier with someone who would have known to let me know that something wasn’t right. Lucky for my friends, I will be that person for them. And although I will continue to freak them out and talk medical, I promise to not bring up poop at the dinner table.