Lessons from Lyme Disease
I recently penned this whilst convalescing at home. My sickness record over my life of work can be counted on one hand. Things have to drop off for me to stop. Same as every Entrepreneur eh? But last month I have had two days off, and one of them was in hospital.
This isn’t a sob story, but there’s always a lesson to be learned.
What I have learned during my medical sojourn has reminded me that sometimes the problem we are looking to solve is NOT the real problem. We blindly keep going forward with conviction looking for a solution in all the wrong places.
To be honest I don’t think Columbo would have worked this out.
It all appeared to start on a Sunday morning, 4:50am to be precise.
I was awoken with a sudden pain below my ribcage. This feeling is now unfortunately not uncommon to me as it is ‘Zig and Zag’; my not so small gallstones kicking off and doing some mischief. Whilst this is really uncomfortable, it usually subsides in a few hours as long as I stand up. The problem with my gallstones is they get caught at the top of the gall bladder and block it, causing the pain. By standing up, I have found they drop down again and life resumes. So, what does any self-respecting person do at 5:00am on a Sunday? Yes, that’s right, they go to the gym and try to get through it. All good, take it a bit easy, no fatty food.
Woke up Monday, still a little groggy, but ready for my drive to see one of my clients. Great meeting, lots of positives, watching what I eat. But have this annoying itching problem on my leg.
By the time I get home my leg is burning up and there’s a massive, angry red rash on it.
Now here’s where the problem I am looking to solve goes awry. I Google ‘gall bladder’ and ‘rashes’ and get lots of advice about blockages, ducts not working, kidney, liver – all things you don’t want to read up on. But there is a clear path to all my symptoms, plus now I am starting to feel a little feverish with flu-like symptoms and other things I won’t mention.
As said, ‘Zig and Zag’ have been around for a few years, but they usually behave themselves after a while, in fact, I have only been introduced to them recently after an Ultrasound Test to find out what the pain was about confirmed their existence.
I was about to go on a small driving break to North France the day after my appointment in August, and was told about them, BUT that everything else was great. This made me think are they being honest, or do they want me to have my last break before breaking the news? This was early August and I planned to not contact the Doctors and see if they contacted me. Simple theory. If no contact then all OK, just ‘Zig and Zag’, if not – emergency summon on my return for the fateful news.
Fortunately, ‘Zig and Zag’ have been behaving themselves and no call meant I actually forgot about it. Until this last week.
So, woke up on the Tuesday really not feeling well. Aches everywhere, now feeling nauseous. Managed to get through to the Doctors Surgery to get the results confirmed, plus a virtual appointment with my doctor set for the Thursday.
I am now convinced my body is shutting down due to ‘Zig and Zag’, and they need to come out ASAP. The more I read, the more I become the expert, and start demanding things.
Wednesday morning and my leg does not look good at all. We had decided to pay a visit to the chemist to get their advice, but based on how I was feeling, we went straight to A&E.
My only thought was these ‘pesky’ things were coming out.
At the check-in desk there’s the usual scene; people waiting in line with all sorts of ailments and four people sat behind a desk basically ignoring them (how does that work?). Anyway, managed to catch the gaze of one of the receptionists and explained my gallstone issue which had now created a leg problem.
And this is where it all started to make sense.
Quick triage and I discovered that whilst ‘Zig and Zag’ were not helping my situation, the leg was something entirely different and was in fact an early onset of Lyme Disease – a bacterial infection that can be spread to humans by infected ticks.
BUT we had discounted anything like that. One, due to ‘Zig and Zag’, and two, I had not been anywhere where I could have picked this up. I am actually arguing with a trained expert about the cause of my pain when he delivers the ‘Oh..’ moment.
“Mr Norbury, the infection could have been in your body for around three months before the rash and symptoms appeared. Did you go anywhere over the summer where there was long grass, animals, any deer?”
Well…Yes! A lot of days over the summer holidays!!
I had been looking in the wrong places for the answers and naturally thinking it was connected to another issue. The fact is, if I had tried to get through the ‘episode’ and ignore the rash, I would be in a very different place now and this page could have been left blank.
Now, I know business for most is not about life and death, however, are we so fixated on a problem that we don’t see something else is actually causing the pain? Are we not listening to experts and taking their advice on what the treatment could be? Do we not have the right alert systems in place to give us that early warning?
The human body is very clever – it tells us through all manner of things that something is not right. Your business is the same.
The only thing you need to do is to STOP looking for the wrong answers and START asking the right questions. Magically the right answers will appear.
The Scalability Coach | Britain’s Top 10 Adviser 2018 | Author of #1 bestseller I don’t work Fridays | Ex-CEO of a PLC