Dr. Escabi: I am part of my community

Dr. Escabi: I am part of my community

My name is Fernando Armando Escabí Méndez and I'd like to share some thoughts with you.

A few weeks ago I approached Neuse News publisher BJ Murphy because I wanted to shed light on something really special some local boys were doing to help their community.

After Neuse News published a story about the service project of Boy Scout Troop 41 of Gordon Street Christian Church, BJ offered me the opportunity to share my thoughts via this new and exciting platform, Neuse News.

At first, I wasn’t sure I had much to say, but as time went on my enthusiasm for the idea grew and I started thinking about ways to contribute. In less than 10 minutes I came up with 26 medical topics I thought would be of interest to local readers. Then, BJ suggested that I write about other subjects as well.

All things considered, I feel I have some ideas to share that could benefit the community, hence the title of this column. So instead of jumping off the deep end with medical advice, let me start by developing some rapport with you by introducing myself.

I am a United States citizen, born and raised in Puerto Rico, where I lived until I was for 29, and then moved to the mainland. Notice my choice of words, “Puerto Rican with United States Citizenship” and “moved” instead of migrated, because these are things I feel very strongly about, but are a topic for a different discussion.

I was named after my father, Fernando Armando, but as you may have noticed there is no "Jr." or "III" suffix. In Hispanic culture, children’s last names can be a combination of both parent’s last names. So we actually have two last names, but sometimes just use the father’s last name.

So if you ever ask for me, ask for Fernando, Dr. Escabí Méndez, Dr. Escabí or Dr. E, but please don’t call me Dr. Méndez…that is my uncle.

I am a family physician and have been practicing at Lenoir Family Medicine for nine years, trying to follow in the footsteps of Dr. Whitaker, Dr. Brimmer, Dr. Agsten and my current partner, Dr. Crisp, all well-loved nurturers of this community. A community that has been welcoming to me and my family since we arrived.

Since then, that family has grown from three to four, and my roots in this town have strengthened. We have become four cogwheels in the ever-evolving machine that is Kinston and Lenoir County. From my interactions with Boy Scouts through Troop 41, Caswell District and even the East Carolina Council, to the relationships we’ve developed through our boys attending St. Mary’s Pre-school and Arendell Parrott Academy, to the everyday warmth you can only get from people in a small town, all of these strands of life makes us feel like we belong.

You may ask, “Why is all this important?” Because when I share my thoughts through Neuse News it will always be straightforward, heartfelt and sincere. I don’t want to preach from a pulpit. I want to let you know why it is important that you realize your doctor is there to help and can only help if he or she knows the facts.

I’d love for you to realize that your health is a team effort and that you should trust your doctor, but not blindly. You need to understand your illnesses so you can take ownership of your health and share the decision-making process with the doctor, but smartly.

However, because I’m more than just a physician, from time to time, I may remind you that the Boy Scouts of America are still around and a good, wholesome group to belong to. I’m here to explain what you may not know about the Hispanic culture so you may better understand others in your community. I may even share my feelings on how important it is for individuals to feel welcomed into their new communities because leaving what you’ve always known and those you love behind to search for a better future is daunting and uncertain enough without feeling alienated.

Lao Tse is credited with the phrase “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. This column was supposed to be my introduction card, my first step, but things happen and it ended up being my third entry. But you know what they say: “when life gives you lemons, you end up putting the cart before the horse” or something like that.

Regardless, I am looking forward to opening my mind and heart for my community. My hope is that it in some way this column becomes a positive experience for any who decide to read it.

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