Algorithms

I LOVE algorithms!

When presented with a symptom from a patient, I will always use an algorithm to figure out what’s going on in order to properly treat the symptom.

For example, I get a lot of complaints from patients about chronic headaches. So, I use a series of questions in order to go down my mental algorithm to figure out what type of headache their having, how severe the headache is, and how to properly treat their headache.

Is it unilateral or bilateral? Does the patient have sensitivity to light and sound? Does it throb or feel like a band around their head? How long does it last? Has there been any trauma in the past? Any sinus congestion, runny nose, eye pain, or nausea and vomiting?

In general, this table demonstrates types of headaches based on the questions above:

Once the type of headache has been diagnosed, then we use another algorithm to treat that specific type of headache and it’s severity.

And you can use algorithms for just about any medical topic. I often use it to start blood pressure treatments and diabetic treatments.

Fun, right? Or is it just me? Haha!

But there’s one algorithm that is the most important to discuss, the simplest to answer, but the most difficult for some people to follow.

I’m often asked, “How do I get into heaven?”

And I very simply answer, “You have to believe in God and that God sent His son, Jesus Christ, to come to Earth, be crucified and die for us, and rise from the dead 3 days later.”

Sometimes, I get “Oh.” as a response.

Sometimes, I get more questions.

“But what if I’m a good person and do good things for people? What if I believe in God but I don’t believe in Jesus? What if I believe in God and Jesus but I have trouble with his death and resurrection?”

Then, I go back to the very simply algorithm of how to get into heaven.

If you believe in God, Jesus, and what Jesus did for us over 2000 years ago, then you get into heaven.

If you don’t believe these things, then the alternative is hell.

Let me be clear: I AM NOT CONDEMNING ANYONE and I WILL NEVER CONDEMN anyone. That is not my place.

But believe it or not, I am asked this question a lot and believe it or not, I use this very simple mental algorithm to answer it.

It’s a simple answer that requires a deep understanding and a very deep level of faith.

How, as a medical provider, can I answer this question with such certainty, such confidence, and with such love towards my friends/family/acquaintances/co-workers/patients/etc?

Because the bible answers that question for me and all I do is answer it using an algorithm.

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” John 4:16 NIV

I answer because I LOVE those around me and I want them to know Jesus. I want them to know they’re loved deeper and more faithfully by a savior whose love is so pure and forgiving, that He came to Earth to be a sacrifice for us all. Once he made that ultimate sacrifice, he rose from the dead to show that death is not the end for those who believe in Him. That through Him, we are given an eternal life in heaven.

In medicine, we take the Hippocratic Oath to “do no harm”.

As a Christian, if I don’t share the love and sacrifice of Christ, I am doing harm to those around me. If I don’t answer that question in accordance with biblical scripture, I am doing harm.

My goal for today’s blog is this: Know what the bible says about Jesus Christ and what He did for us. Then, believe it in your heart that there’s more to this life than simple medical algorithms that maintain your physical body here on earth. Believe that there’s a spiritual algorithm, a path if you will, to an eternal life in heaven.

Let me pray with you about this topic.

God, let my words show my love for you. Let my words shine Christ’s love for us and let my words demonstrate love, not condemnation. Let my words show hope of eternal life after our death on this Earth. Let my decisions as a medical provider follow the right algorithm. And let my decisions as a Christian show the right algorithm to those who may not know you. I pray that whoever reads this blog takes it to heart, that their faith may be deepened and brought closer to you. I pray that any uncertainty about you in the past finds a firm foundation in you and that they seek you more now than ever before. Amen.

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