Have You Met Richard Feynman?

Quotes can be very powerful. Earlier this week a friend shared a quote that was attributed to Professor Richard Feynman.

Feynman said:

"You are under no obligation to remain the same person you were a year ago, a month ago, or even a day ago. You are here to create yourself, continuously."

Let's ponder that statement for a moment. What do you think Professor Feynman was talking about? Do you think that he was referring to anything in particular? This is another one of those quotes that are applicable in just about every phase of our lives.  

A couple of weeks ago I had a tough conversation with a patient. To be honest, she did most of the talking, and I simply listened to her. She had gone to her primary care physician (PCP) and had received some bad news, on the day before our visit. The results of her bloodwork showed that she was "pre-diabetic" and she was given a prescription for medicine to treat it. There was little conversation between the patient and her PCP about the diagnosis or what it meant for her. She left the office feeling scared and confused as to what she could do.

She came to see me the following morning. Upon entering the office, the stress and anxiety were clearly evident on her face. Something was wrong. Unsure what it was, I asked about her back pain. She replied that she was feeling better, but she was nearly in tears. Confused, I asked her "What else is going on?" Only after this follow-up question did she tell me about her interaction with her PCP.

At that moment, what was the most important thing that I could do to help her? She just needed someone to talk to. Someone to listen to her and answer her questions. What did I do? Pulled up a stool, sat down, and talked with her about the diagnosis, what it means, and how she can move forward from here. The stress and anxiety that she was feeling were more important than her back pain levels at that point, and we needed to focus on that more than any of those physical symptoms.

Going back to Professor Feynman's quote, it was time to make a change. This patient needed help in deciding which path she needed to follow. We talked about The Five Pillars of Health and simple changes that she could make immediately. After talking about drinking more water, and choosing to eat more vegetables at every meal, she felt more at ease. The stress and anxiety were no longer visible on her face and she reached out to hug me to say thank you. 
We all have the opportunity to make changes every day. The decisions, big or small, that we make, on a daily basis, all add up to make us who we are.

Make sure that the decisions that you make are moving you on the path to becoming the person that you want to be. 

Movement is my medicine,

Dr. William "Chip" Bleam

Dr. William "Chip" Bleam


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