Donald Rumsfeld once said there are things you know and things you don’t. Sometimes you are aware of your ignorance and knowledge, other times you are not. This means that there are known knowns (the knowledge you know you have), known unknowns (your awareness of your blind spots), unknown unknowns (you are oblivious to that knowledge), and unknown knowns (the subconscious—that native knowledge you take for granted).
I use this a lot in art. It’s the thing that guides you. The bits of the subconsciousness shines through. You make decisions without really consciously knowing why you did it, but you know that it’s the right thing to do. But I got to thinking about healthcare in this setting, and in life and living in general. The “gut feelings” when you know something is wrong (or right), how to use empathy, and how you know what choices are the right choices.
About 3 months ago, I got major bad man-flu, which turned into horrific shoulder side pain, which turned into a crazy now 62 day constant headache, with now a side of Shingles. On top of everything else already going on with me. You guys know where I am if anyone wants me to buy them a lottery ticket. I’ve been having the worlds longest constant headache (i’m so sure it’s a Guinness world record – 62 days and counting). I went back to my GP to tell him it was day 50-something, with a crazy painful rash (which i thought was either allergic reaction or Bedbugs!) and the cool GP was like,”Yeah it’s shingles.” I knew what shingles were, like mostly old people get them, but I didn’t really know WHY I got them if they’re not contagious like chicken-pox. Motherfucking shingles. We high-fived.
From the printout he gave me, I learned that shingles comes out when your immune system is low enough, which is why it’s so dangerous for the elderly. My GP is always saying I’m stressed, or I work too much. I don’t think this, however. I’m now super suspicious that my headache could be shingles related. But how do you know?!
This shit reminds me not to take life and work too seriously. I will be like, remember that time when I ran myself down so much that I nearly gave myself half a numb face for life from the worlds longest headache because Shingles came out. That time i nearly blinded myself with Shingles. Plus, if you didn’t know, Shingles really hurtS, guys!
But here’s the thing, we know stress is bad for us. We know that we shouldn’t take life so seriously, all-of-the-time. But it’s a knowledge we know but never listen to. I get angry with myself, that I’m still feeling shit, that I’m still getting sick, that I’m still taking up peoples time with this stuff. But I hope I will always be frustrated from this stuff, because otherwise I think I’d be missing the point. We don’t know how much time we have been allotted in this world. And it’s an unknowing unknown that should help us to be more knowing about how we use our precious time.
And I tell you all of this, because it serves as a reminder to myself, but I also hope you can learn from my shingle-ness. Try and be less stressed/run-down so you don’t get unnecessary shingles.
I am completely fascinated with the the levels of what we know and un-know, and I’m going to let this help guide me through things.
This is going to be my first 4 days off – in a long time – in which I will literally be doing nothing & not have the guilt of not doing something like revising for exams (as I worked late to finish a crazy deadline this week). And you know what, I’m going to enjoy every single minute of not knowing and not having an agenda. And you should too.