Dr. Kenney’s Friday 5 Spot
On Fridays I like to share some of the experiences I’ve had during the week with patients and in my personal life that I’ve found significant in some way. This week Mary and I have been out of the office for the birth of our daughter and will be sharing a few lessons I thought were reinforced by some of my experiences this week.
Lesson 1 – Relax. Look around. Make a call. This is a quote from Navy SEAL Jocko Willink that I have found to be accurate.
While in the hospital, everything was proceeding well for about 5 hours before our baby’s heartbeat was no longer able to be monitored. After a few minutes, her heartbeat once again came back on the monitor, but it dropped from 130 beats per minute to 40 with no signs of it rising back up. Our doctor was called and was on her way into the hospital but wouldn’t be there for a little bit. I could feel all the tension in the room and see the worry on everyone’s faces (there were about 10 people now in the room because of the seriousness of the situation). The attending physician took control and made the decision to perform an emergency c-section. Within 2 minutes, Mary was wheeled out of the room and into the operating room. There was no discussion, no vote or consensus opinion, just decisive action.
I respected this because often in times of great stress I have seen people completely freeze up. They’ll look around and not know what to do next because of the gravity of a situation. In scenarios such as this there must always be someone willing to step up and do what is necessary. Usually that means taking a deep breath, assessing the current situation, and then deciding based on your experience and training. Thankfully, we had someone there that did exactly that.
Lesson 2 – Stay water. Staying water means being able to go with the flow and follow a new path when you can no longer follow the expected one. For this pregnancy, Mary really wanted badly to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after a previous c-section). She went into labor and that goal was progressing well before it suddenly no longer was. I was proud of her because after she came out of anesthesia, I was expecting her to be deeply saddened by how things had turned out. Instead, she told me “Our baby is safe and that’s all that matters. I wanted to try and I’m so thankful I was able to.” There is a saying that “no plan survives first contact with the enemy” which means that often how we want something to go often will not happen. If it doesn’t, be proud that you tried, remain flexible and follow the next best route.
Lesson 3 – Stay Calm. Being trained medically, when things started to go sideways, I was able to understand all the terminology being used around me and knew how serious things were. I understood they thought they were losing the baby and Mary knew it as well. It entered both mine and Mary’s thoughts that our daughter could die. After it was all over, several of the doctors and nurses complimented Mary and I on how calm we remained and said that it helped them greatly in those circumstances. Likewise, it helped us that all the medical personnel were able to remain calm and focused. When things start breaking down around you, the single worst thing you can do is panic because it clouds judgment, slows reaction time, and keeps you from staying present. You get no extra points for panic so try to remain calm.
Lesson 4 – Assumptions can often be wrong. While Mary was getting an epidural, she mentioned to the anesthesiologist that I was a chiropractor. He made a comment to me that I must get people in my office regularly that people in his field couldn’t help or something to that effect. He said it in such a manner that it seemed like he thought I would not like or respect his profession because of what field I was in (and certainly as a chiropractor this can be the case of certain medical doctors towards people in my profession). He was a nice guy and I told him that wasn’t the case and that just like him, I help as many people as I can but none of us can help everyone ultimately. I was very respectful of what he was able to do for my wife and certainly very appreciative. Before long he was describing an issue/ailment that he was having to me so that I could give him my diagnosis which I did. He then told me he’d love to come see me in my office to get it fixed. The point here is that often when we are unsure of someone or something, we assume the worst of them and proceed based on that. Often though, if we go past those assumptions and are willing to respectfully communicate with someone there can be common ground and something to build upon.
Some quotes I love?
“A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.” —Carl Sandburg
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” – Zig Ziglar
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