Medical training instructs physicians to look for the horse and not the zebra when attempting to diagnose a patient presenting with a cluster of common or uncommon symptoms. This training serves physicians well; even the most mundane ailments may include bizarre symptoms. However, while unlikely, one might find a zebra running among the sleek quarter horses at a renowned Kentucky horse farm. And – however unlikely – an astute physician may spot a pattern or non-pattern of symptoms in a patient that simply do not – cannot – be explained away as manifestations of the usual suspects. Enter the zebra of the medical world.
When You Know It’s Not in Your Head
While many in the medical community may scorn the popular medical series, House, which features a Vicodin-addicted, emotionally immature medical genius, the general public has a huge crush on this racist, arrogant, smart-mouthed freak. Why? House is driven to find answers; whether those answers involve commonly seen ailments, such as leukemia or herpes simplex II, or an obscure, but deadly, amoeba such as a highly pathogenic strain of Naegleria fowleri, House will find the answer missed by everyone else.
No one would actually tolerate a Vicodin-popping, HIPPA-violating, sexually inappropriate physician like House in real life. But people long for the tenacious and unstoppable curiosity portrayed by this man in their real-life healthcare situations. People need medical heroes that relentlessly seek answers for their patients.
Never Give Up – Find Your Zebra
Take a look at the following link: The Road to Diagnosis: Stories from Patients with Rare Diseases. If you struggle with an undiagnosed set of symptoms that adversely affect your quality of life, these stories will uplift and Inspire you to carry on until you get an answer.
Inspire is a New Jersey-based company that builds and manages online patient support companies, in partnership with national patient advocacy and health associations. Follow this innovative and supportive organization on Twitter @teaminspire.