Today is Father’s Day, and I can’t help but think about the huge influence my dad has had on who I am and why I do this work for you. It seems fitting to share them with you today.
Dad gave me my name: I am Patricia Torrey, daughter of Richard and Betty (Stetson) Torrey. Yes, I am married, and I love my husband and his name, but I’ve always been proud of my name and decided to keep it. Some of that pride comes from who I am, but just as important is my pride in what my dad accomplished in his life, and what I learned from it. Yes — TORREY. Me, too.
Dad taught me curiosity: Sometimes we would have a discussion at the dinner table and either Mom or Dad would use a word I didn’t know. “Look it up!” he would tell me — and that’s what I would do.
Years later, as Dad started having health problems, he didn’t settle for just the information shared by his doctors. To this day he continues learning everything he can, reads everything he can get his hands on, researches on the internet, interviews additional professionals — even forwards information he has found to my sisters and me. His curiosity has unearthed information ranging from exploring surgeries online, to medical test and research results, to unearthing findings about pharmaceutical drugs, to choosing complementary and alternative therapies. He studies not only his own health challenges, but Alzheimer’s information (for my mother) and others. Yes — curiosity! Me, too.
Dad taught me charity: I don’t remember any time in my life when my dad wasn’t making a contribution to another person or an organization. From the myriad not-for-profit boards he sat on, to the many gallons of blood he donated over his lifetime, to the tens of thousands of dollars he raised for support organizations, to the tens of thousands of dollars he has donated himself, giving to others in any form has always been a focus of his life. Yes — charity. Me, too.
Dad taught me spirituality: We were church-goers, and both my parents were involved in the church. No — not Bible thumpers, and certainly our religion was never imposed on others. But the fundamentals of a belief in God and the Golden Rule were very much part of my upbringing. I do this patient advocacy work because of my spiritual belief that everything happens for a reason. That’s what I believe my misdiagnosis was all about. Yes – spirituality. Me, too.
Dad taught me work ethic and organization: To the max! The term “workaholic” gets a bad rap, as if there is something wrong with it. Yes — I think when it’s used to avoid other things, there’s most definitely something wrong with it. But Dad has always worked hard — and played hard, too. And how he gets it all done sometimes confounds me. He has to stay organized and that has somehow rubbed off on me, too. Yes — work ethic and organization. Me, too.
Dad taught me golf: and yes, that affects my work on your behalf, too. Golf is one of those sports that teaches us about life. It teaches us to work toward a single point — a goal. It teaches us to work in a team environment, but to better our skills as individuals, too. It teaches us to overcome hurdles (I’m pretty good at getting out of those sandtraps!). It teaches us to be flexible and to appreciate different environments. It teaches us to get along with others. It teaches us to be honest (even counting “whiffs” — meaning a swing at the ball that misses the ball completely). It’s a sport with a great deal of dignity, honor and respect. Yes — golf. Me, too.
So how does that translate to becoming Every Patient’s Advocate? Curiosity, charity, spirituality, work ethic, organization, and golf — pretty good foundations for this kind of work. And I use them on a daily basis to share with you what I have learned about best patienting practices.
Thanks Dad. I love you, and I’m proud to be your daughter.
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