Trust Yourself

It was the 3rd August 2011; my son’s first birthday.  However, rather than waking up in the comforts of our own home to celebrate the occasion, I was waking up in the isolation unit of the Christchurch children’s hospital ward.

My son, Luke, had been unwell for several weeks.  I had visited the doctor countless times with him and we had already been referred to the hospital once, only to be sent home several hours later.  After much persistence and eventually a chest x-ray, Luke was finally diagnosed with pneumonia and could be treated with intravenous antibiotics.

It had been a stressful few weeks.  I had been told by several doctors that Luke had a virus, there was nothing they could do and so they sent us home.

His health deteriorated and I wasn’t convinced it was just a virus, so I kept taking him back to the doctor.  My husband questioned “how many times are you going to take Luke back to the doctor?” ….I reflected and I questioned myself.

But, I knew in my heart that he wasn’t well, so I persisted.

And I am forever grateful that I did.

Bacterial pneumonia can be fatal if left untreated.  It is one of the leading causes of death in children under five years worldwide, but it can be successfully treated with the correct antibiotics.

Luke unwell in hospital on intravenous antibiotics and oxygen.

Luke recovered well, but then two months after this ordeal, he was again unwell.  His symptoms were exactly the same.  I knew he had pneumonia again so I took him back to the doctor.

We were referred to the hospital, only to be told by the doctor that “every time Luke becomes sick, we can’t just assume it is pneumonia.”

I questioned myself again.

But, I had learnt from previous experience to trust myself.

I work in healthcare and I am a Registered Medical Laboratory Scientist, so I wasn’t afraid to question the diagnosis.

I took Luke back to the hospital and I requested that he have a chest x-ray, or that he was prescribed antibiotics.  We were not leaving until he had one or the other.

The doctor finally agreed to give him a chest x-ray and the result confirmed my concern had been justified.  He did have pneumonia again, only this time it was in his other lung.  He was again treated with antibiotics.

This experience had taught be A LOT.

It reinforced to me that we have instinct for a reason, and that sometimes you need to challenge and question what you may be told.

I applied the lessons learnt from this experience more recently when I was referred to a podiatrist for foot related problems which impaired my running.

As you already know, getting the right running shoes for your feet is essential!

My podiatrist recommended I wear orthotics and so I had some made.  But, they didn’t feel right.  Instinct was telling me I needed to approach this differently.

I did my research based on what I felt worked for me.  I returned to the podiatrist, this time asking if we could experiment with a modified innersole.  He was open to the idea and willing to try.

I transitioned easily to the modified innersole, and they were super comfortable!  My suggestion had worked well.

Experience has taught me a few key things that are important to consider in regards to running shoes:

– Be guided by your podiatrist but assertive about what feels right for you. Working together towards a solution is essential.

– Always check the heel to toe drop on a shoe (even updated versions).  If you run in a shoe that has a lower heel to toe drop than the body is accustomed,  there is risk of injuring the achilles tendon.

– I always buy a running shoe half a size bigger that my actual shoe size because my feet swell when I run.

– The right shoes, in my opinion, should never give you blisters.

– When I have the opportunity, I always walk in bare feet to strengthen my toes as well as the stabilising tendons and muscles in my feet.

– I keep any calluses at bay by exfoliating/trimming them.  If they get too big, they can affect how my foot fits the shoe.

For me, finding the right running shoe (with innersole modifications) has created the foundation on which I am able to train consistently.

Ultimately, I think there are many facets of life where we can have successful outcomes via thoughtful questioning, collaboration and trust in our instinct; if only we allow ourselves!

As Albert Einstein once said ” The important thing is not to stop questioning” and  “Education is not the learning of facts, but training of the mind to think”.  So just remember, next time you question yourself, instead acknowledge your instinct; you know more than you think, all you have to do is Trust Yourself.


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