Just a "zebra" trying my best to live life to the fullest with EDS and POTS...and loving the ride.

"Beyond Zebra"

Written by Katie. Posted in Ehlers-Danlos Awareness, Zebras

Spread the love

Love.  This.  So. Much.

Thanks to a fellow EDS’er for posting it on one of the support groups, and for allowing it to be shared.  Please help spread Ehlers Danlos Awareness!

It’s a bit of book but well worth it and should create a smile.

Theodore E. Woodward was a renowned University of Maryland, Baltimore researcher in the field of Medicine. In 1948, he received a Nobel Prize nomination for his role in finding cures for typhus and typhoid fever. And most notably to people who suffer from rare diseases like Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) he is credited with the aphorism:

“When you hear hoof beats behind you, don’t expect to see a zebra.”

Medical students are given this quote as a way to let them know that they should look for a common diagnosis for the symptoms they are given instead of the possibility of it being a rare case. This is why people with EDS refer to themselves as Zebras. They are the unexpected. They are the monkey wrench in the works of medical diagnosis.

There is a very famous doctor whose quote should be the new one that medical students are taught. It is a little more profound. It is more thought provoking. It should serve as more of a challenge to doctors. It tells them to not accept the standard assumptions as probability. It doesn’t tell them to look for the rare or common cases. Instead it inspires them to research everywhere for answers. To “think outside the box.” If zebras are the exception to the rule, then there must be an exception to the zebras as well.

So I give to you that quote by that very famous doctor:

“There’s no end to the thing you might know, depending how far beyond Zebra you go.”

Indeed. What will you find if you refuse to stop looking? What would have happened if everyone had followed Mr. Woodward’s belief? Would EDS victims be told it was all in their heads? Would Edvard Ehlers and Henri-Alexander Danlos have been told that they were wasting their time?

I appreciate inquisitive researchers and doctors. I am grateful for the interests that spark their desires to find answers. But they can only do so much. We need to help by spreading the word and sharing information. The more we can do, the more they can do. Do what you can to help the medical profession to go “beyond Zebra.”

And the famous doctor with the quote? He wasn’t in the medical field. He wasn’t even a researcher. He was a writer and a cartoonist. Like the man with the “hoof beats” quote, his name was also Theodor (without the e at the end). But you might know him better by his pen name…..Dr Seuss.

“There’s no end to the thing you might know, depending how far beyond Zebra you go.”
-Dr. Seuss.

– Bruce Gunn

Tags: ,