Stranger in a Strange Land

By November 4, 2016Advocate, ePatient, Leader, Musician

OMGdpdrmultiface, where’s my wife? I need to be rescued. I can’t do this. I can’t be here. My pounding heart, my rapid, shallow breathing. I can’t be here. Where’s my Ativan?! Have I gotten bad news, a diagnosis, felt a lump? Am I bleeding? Have I fallen? Am I a stranger in the strange land of the medical industrial complex?

No, I’m on a Blues Cruise. I want to play the blues with other amateurs. They are the amateurs that are not headliners. They have blues bands of their own and play regular gigs wherever they live.  I am an old, baby amateur. I’m the only horn player at this session. I don’t know the tunes. I don’t know what key they’re playing in. I am SO way over my head. It could just as well be a gaggle of 8-year old’s trading Pokémon cards.

That was one day.  Another day, I sat in with the PRO/AM (amateur) JAM session. Sax players from Roomful of Blues, Los Lobos, and Selwin Birchwood welcomed me! “Love that horn, it’s a workhorse. Can I play it later?” “Can you find low C# on that thing? Good, play that really loud when the rest of us play.” “For this tune, play A, D, and G when we play.” “When you go home, follow the bass and sit heavy on the low notes.  You have a great sound!” I felt welcomed. I was met where I was at. The professionals greeted me at the threshold and guided my passage into their world. I had fun, I learned something.

How must people feel every day as they enter health care as a stranger in a strange land?  Greeted at the threshold or bewildered and panicked? And we expect engagement?

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