4th May, Zebra and Proud

Why is this blog called The Stripey Musician? Because I’m a musician (obviously!) and a  Zebra. No, I don’t literally think I’m a Zebra, don’t worry! Let me explain…

At medical school, students are taught the saying:

If you hear hooves, don’t expect a zebra

Literally, this saying means that it is much more likely to be a horse than a zebra. In the medical world this is used as a metaphor, horses are common conditions and zebras are rare ones, so it’s teaching them that if the symptoms point to a common condition, it’s more likely to be that rather than a rare one. However it is important to remember that there are Zebras out there.

Unfortunately, many medical professionals take this saying too far, meaning that those of us with rare conditions have to go through long, and often difficult process to get the correct diagnosis. It took me 10 years to get my diagnosis and in the process I was misdiagnosed with fibromyalgia and abdominal migraines and underwent testing for many rheumatological conditions including Lupus, Reumatoid Arthritis and even Bechet’s Disease, which is rarer than EDS.

The worst part about having a rare, invisible condition is people not believing there is anything wrong with you. I am a zebra , even if you can’t see it, so think twice before you judge someone for using a disabled parking space or toilet… They might be a zebra too!


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