Is There A Normal?

super_nurse[1]As a nurse, I hate when my patients ask me what is normal.  I can tell you what healthcare says is normal.  I recently had a patient ask me how often should a person have a bowel movement.  I told the patient it depends on what is the normal for that person.  Some people go every day, some go after every meal, some people go every other day, and some people go every 3 days.  You have to get to know what is normal for your body.  The patient admitted that they had never really paid attention to how often they go to the bathroom.  It is so important to know what is your normal.  That way you can know what is abnormal for you.  I love it when patients say I know my body and I know that this isn’t my normal.  My “normal” may be some else’s abnormal.  For example, when I got the flu.  It started off like a common cold.  I was getting congested and then I started to have body aches.  Almost every joint in my body was sore.  I knew immediately that this wasn’t a common cold and I needed to get to my doctor.  I ended up being diagnosed with the flu even though I had gotten the flu shot that year.  I can explain to the patient the “normal” course of a disease.  If the patient has other chronic diseases then that can affect the outcome of that particular disease.  A diabetic patient may take a little longer to heal from a bad cut on the knee or a fracture.  A newly diagnosed diabetic patient has to get used to their new “normal”.  I recently looked on the internet for the height and weight chart.  Almost every website had different information about what was the “normal” weight.  Some of the ranges for a person that is 5′ 4″ were 130-150 pounds, 111-146 pounds, or 120-145 pounds.  I also know that if my patient is a bodybuilder they are going to be considered obese by the height and weight charts.  I tell my patients they have to get to know their bodies and what is “normal” for them.  Now that I’m listening to my body, I can easily tell what my body needs.  When my veins start to pop out, I know that I need to drink more water because I’m getting dehydrated.  Usually when some of my patients are dehydrated it is hard for me to find their veins when I’m looking to put an IV in.

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