Of All the Nerve!

Living in this moment we call a human body can be very challenging. With all the delights of sensory awareness, the physical vehicle can also feel wondrous discomfort. I am currently in the ‘shingles realm’ and have some new sensory data to explore. The nerve! My Chicken Pox virus, having lain dormant since early childhood, is now traversing the dermatome (nerve pathway) emanating from my T1 (thoracic) nerve. I hope it is having a good time getting my attention. It definitely has my attention.

The most difficult part of my shingles journey thus far has been in negotiating our broken health care system. The urgent care center determined, via an HSV test, that I did not actually have shingles—even though HSV, I discovered later, is the wrong test for shingles. My body did not agree with the results anyway, so I advocated for myself and got a second opinion which confirmed what I already knew. It is so strange to have a health care system that assumes we know nothing about our own bodies and the all-wise ‘doctor’ must tell us how we feel without listening to how we feel.

I finally found  a wonderful doctor who listened. She confirmed my shingles experience and now it is officially entered into the digital patient portal assigned to the body they call Michael Stevens. Seems like an awful lot of work to find help and enter data. Helping should be more kind, fluid, and adaptable. I think compassion has been strangled out of our health care system through corporate mentality, insurance, and technology. 

Countless health workers are lost in that system, but they still offer kindness and care in spite of the loss of humanity in digital code. Bless them all! Unfortunately, many compassionate providers are leaving the profession precisely because of the broken system. The doctor who helped me, a person I would love to have as my health care partner, let me know she was leaving to pursue some other career. 

Anyway, I send Medicine Buddha prayers to all those currently in the shingles realm and to all health care workers. May the pain and itch of a disintegrating system quickly subside for both! And may all beings be happy and free from suffering.

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