Today a small group of Patient Experience Advisors from Kingston General Hospital spoke with a grad student finishing her Masters.
As I understand she wanted to speak to a few of us about our experience as advisors to get a sense of why things are going so well at KGH.
As I was speaking – sharing my personal experience – it occurred to me that becoming a Patient Experience Advisor had been the catalyst for the recent positive changes to my life.
An informal meeting with the head of the Patient Experience Advisory council in February 2012. The invitation to join some nephrology-related committees. The invitation to a few conferences. The opportunity to share my perspective as a person who has lived with chronic illnesses had changed my life in a powerful way.
Out of this new role came a confidence. A sense of being part of something special and important. A notion that I was helping.
My public speaking blossomed. I started my blog. I committed to pitching my first book. I aspired to becoming a chronic illness fitness ambassador.
As I shared my story I realized that an unassuming opportunity (that I wasn’t even sure about) had become one of the most important professional happening of this era of my life.
And with this opportunity my perspective on my health changed . . .
Now I see my chronic illnesses as a wealth of experience to draw and advise from.
I see my negatives contributing to positives now.
I see where my health once took away from the good of my life to now where my bad experiences have become constructive.
Giving me hope and a plan.
A moment worth pausing and reflecting on.
Hope and a plan.
I want to thank Dr. Morton who suggested I start advising.
I want to thank Daryl Bell my boss at KGH, who is supportive and encouraging and understanding. Because he believed in me I was more inclined to believe in me too.
I want to thank my fellow advisors for showing me the ropes and helping me to see how important and powerful our work is. And for inspiring me with their courage and passion.
(A photo of us (Patient Experience Advisors) speaking with Dr. Brian Goldman of CBC’s “White Coat, Black Arts”. Unfortunately I’m on my phone in the photo. (Looks soooo bad!! LOL!) It was one of those days when I was suppose to be at home waiting for my dialysis supply delivery but had snuck away. I had to pay attention so I could run home quick if Baxter arrived with my stuff.)
This journey is far from over . . . I still have a lot of work to do in accomplishing my goals but I thought it was worth noting where and why this journey began.
And to give thanks where thanks are due.
As a quick aside, my relationship with KGH continues . . . long and complicated. A classic love/hate. That’s another blog post to itself. 🙂