Introducing a new Podcast...
Elena Ledoux: This is Tell Me How podcast, episode number one, with Dina Patel.
Elena Ledoux: Welcome to Tell Me How podcast. I am the host, Elena Ledoux, the founder of MommyGO. Each week I ask the remarkable people to tell me how they achieved their success. In this episode, we discover how a real life superhero finds her balance in extraordinarily stressful situations. The secret behind baby whispering, how to travel all over the world without getting violently sick, and how to be hyper-organized.
Elena Ledoux: Dina Patel is truly a remarkable person. She's the pediatric nurse practitioner, the founder of the Healthy Sunrise Foundation nonprofit. She travels the world to remote villages of Nigeria, Ghana, India and other countries, to save the lives of pregnant women and babies. That's in addition to saving lives right here in Las Vegas. Welcome to the show Dina.
Dina Patel: Hi Elena. Thanks so much for having me on the show today.
Elena Ledoux: Well thank you for coming, I'm really excited to have you here. I want you to teach me how you cope with a lot of very interesting and challenging situations. Number one is tell me how do you stay balanced and sane, despite with seeing the worst of humanity within your line of work? You've seen some truly heartbreaking things such as child abuse and things like that, so yet you are managing to be a very positive person, optimistic and a person of light. Tell me how you do this.
Dina Patel: Well thank you for those kind words. I don't really know if I can teach it, but for typically what I do to stay grounded, probably the number one thing is, is my spirituality and my belief in God, because there is so much that medicine can't explain, science does not have all the answers, and we see miracles all the time and we see things that you just can't even imagine.
Elena Ledoux: That are not fair?
Dina Patel: That aren't fair. We see kids that are being abused or kids that are born way before they should be, weighing less than a pound, and it's scary. You wonder why. These are innocent lives that are being brought into the world and have an unfair shot to begin with.
Dina Patel: I think one of the biggest things for me is that I had to take into consideration that it's not my job to fix everything. I think you do the best you can, and knowing that I did everything in my absolute power to comfort the families or comfort the child, or try to make the situation better is really all I can do, and not living with any regrets.
Elena Ledoux: That's a really good principal for me, because I am the type of person who always tries to fix everything, and I think a lot of my friends are probably the same way. That's a really great tip.
Dina Patel: Thanks.
Elena Ledoux: Number two is most of your patients are actually young children, and I know you've got this really cool skills to be able to survive in a room with 20 crying newborns. I know for most people, even having one crying newborn is extremely distressing, so tell me how you do this.
Dina Patel: You get a really good set of earplugs. No, I'm just kidding. That's not what you do. I think that's a very interesting question because typically I think kids or babies who are upset or are crying their head off, you have to remain really calm, because if you do end up taking that baby and you're stressed out, they actually have these supernatural powers themselves, so that that can pick up on your stressors.
Elena Ledoux: Emotions.
Dina Patel: Yeah, on your emotions. Then you have this back and forth tug of war where you're stressed out then you're stressing the baby out and the baby's stressing you out and you're stressing the baby out. I think probably the biggest thing is, is staying calm and knowing that if you're calm and you take the baby, hopefully that can also calm the baby down. Doesn't work all the time and some kids are going to scream their head off anyways, but I think that typically if you can stay calm, reassess the situation and come back and grab the baby, I think that helps.
Dina Patel: Also, just picking up the baby and just bouncing back and forth, up and down a little bit, that's the same notion or motion that the baby is used to when baby's inside of mom, so it's typically a very soothing movement for the baby.
Elena Ledoux: Your background was in intensive care for newborns?
Dina Patel: For neonatal ICU, yes.
Elena Ledoux: Okay. They're in critical condition usually?
Dina Patel: Some were in critical condition, so those kids you can't pick up and bounce around. They're typically not the ones who are really crying, but it's the kids that are born to moms who have some sort of drug abuse, or that are full-term but still need some sort of small type of management, they're stuck in the hospital.
Elena Ledoux: Tell me that trick that you told me about, how you pacify the crying baby. What do you do?
Dina Patel: For those babies, so ...
Elena Ledoux: A spa.
Dina Patel: I do create a spa like environment. I'll wash their hair under the sink in a warm bath type of thing. Everybody loves getting their hair shampooed, so I'll do that, and then I'll wrap the baby up really tight and then I'll lay the baby down. Typically that works, and you dim the lights and you create this spa like environment. We would play ocean breezes and lullabies and things like that, into the nursery. I think it also helped with the parents too.
Elena Ledoux: Yeah, that would work on me. I would be calmed down. That's great. I also noticed that even older kids, they seem to be really obsessed with you, they follow you around, they're ready to give up on their parents, all this kind of stuff, and yet I didn't see you spoiling them too much. Tell me what's your secret? Tell me how you do it so the kids really seem to adore you, and also behave at the same time. How do you do that?
Dina Patel: Well I think it's a little bit easier for me because number one, I'm not around the kids 24/7, seven days a week, so my tolerance level is probably a little higher, but also, I typically stick to what I'm seeing, so if I tell my niece or my nephew, "Hey, if you stop running, then we can sit down and color, or I'll sit down and I'll do a puzzle with you," and if the kid is still running around, and then after some time, he really wants to do the puzzle, I won't sit down and do the puzzle.
Elena Ledoux: You follow through on your word?
Dina Patel: Yeah. I think they've met their match in terms also stubbornness. I can be just as stubborn as they are, and I won't typically back down. I think that they learn that about you, and kids will typically push you to your limits to see how far can I push mom? How far can I push dad? It's a little different when you're the aunt or the uncle.
Elena Ledoux: Well I also noticed that you give kids undivided attention. You are not on the phone, you're not doing anything else. I like to multitask, and the other day my five-year-old told me, "I want to spend time with dad because he's not always on the phone." You're the opposite of that, and I tell me if that's true, that's how you handle the kids?
Dina Patel: Well, for me, it's a very selfish reason why I do that, because I actually feel like when I'm around kids, it rejuvenates me. To some extent, I like being around children because they're very honest and they're very simple, so if they don't like you, they're going to tell you to your face, "Dina [inaudible 00:08:11], I don't like you." Five seconds later, I can convince them otherwise, but at least they're very transparent, and for the most part, they're pretty honest.
Elena Ledoux: And positive.
Dina Patel: And positive. Well sometimes they're negative, but for the most part, they're pretty positive, and their emotions aren't tainted by what the world wants them to be. They're not really forced to act or behave a certain way, they're just who they are. I find that very refreshing because you're stuck around a bunch of adults who are trying to fit in all the time.
Elena Ledoux: It's complicated.
Dina Patel: It's complicated. Kids aren't complicated.
Elena Ledoux: I can relate to that. Okay, so number three is travel. You travel a lot. You've been, I think the first time you mentioned to me casually, you've been to Nigeria nine times, you've been to Ghana, you've been to India, you've been all over the place, and you don't go and stay in the Four Seasons, you go into remote villages and you're saving all these women and children. You do incredible work, But I was very surprised to learn that despite this extensive traveling, and actually eating in the local places, you never once had a violent diarrhea. That's my always concern when I travel. I don't want to eat somewhere and then become very sick with unknown issue. How do you do that?
Dina Patel: There's a couple of things I typically will do. The first thing is, is I take a shot of Airborne or vitamin C every morning, religiously. Not sure if that really helps, but I know it has the vitamins.
Elena Ledoux: When you travel?
Dina Patel: When I travel, yeah. Not every day, just when I travel, just to give my immune system a little bit of a boost. The other thing is, is if I feel like we're going to eat out, I'll just take a Pepto to coat your stomach, so hoping that that might prevent-
Elena Ledoux: Preemptive?
Dina Patel: Yeah. I'll do some preventative type of stuff. Typically I won't eat anything that's not cooked. If you're eating fruits or vegetables, don't eat anything that doesn't have a skin that you can peel off, so no strawberries or blueberries. You can do a banana, you can do an orange, things that have some sort of shell.
Elena Ledoux: Protective?
Dina Patel: Yeah, a protective shell that you can eat. That's done me some good up until this point. Knock on wood.
Elena Ledoux: Well that's great. I'm definitely going to use that when I travel, because I'm always scared to be really sick. Okay, next one is with so much going on, you've been working on an investment project, you're helping me with MommyGO, which is natural energy shots, you are running your nonprofit Healthy Sunrise Foundation, you were coordinating international conference. With all that stuff, tell me how you keep it all organized and straight, and don't go crazy.
Dina Patel: I have a lot of folders inside of folders, and they're numerically numbered, so my brain just thinks in that numeric fashion. It took me a long time to get to this point, but it's really just having a system that works for you. Typically I'll write down a to do list, but I'll write everything I need to do for each ...
Elena Ledoux: Project.
Dina Patel: Project, whether it's Healthy Sunrise, okay, so I list 20 things I've got to do. Whether it's MommyGO, we'll make a list of 10 things we have to do. Even in those 10 things, one of the things is keep your folders organized. Then I'll typically pick one or two or three things from the list, it doesn't have to be from each activity or each category, and I'll try to knock at least three things out from those lists. I'll just have a running list, and then once I finish that or I need more room, I just create another page. I'm a visual person, so writing really helps me, and crossing those things out makes it easier for me to stay organized.
Elena Ledoux: I'm going to try that system, because my thing is I'll just write out on the index card, just immediate three goals. Three tasks for today, it's a very short [inaudible 00:12:23], but you have a master list, so I feel like it works so much better.
Elena Ledoux: Okay, so the next one is tell me what is ... Because obviously, and I think we talked about it before, nowadays, there are so many distractions and there's so much cultural influence, or they tell you to go off to glamour, they tell you to go off to consumerism, superficial things like Kardashians and things like that, but you're one of those rare people who has a higher mission almost, and it's incredible to witness. It's very humbling, and I feel like it would be very interesting to know how you arrived to that conclusion. Were you just born like the missionary? I don't know. What happened to you that you became that way?
Dina Patel: I think I just feel like it was a gift that was given to me. Ever since I was four or five, I was turning around saying I was going to be a nurse, and I didn't even understand what that meant, or the level of responsibility that comes with actually wanting to take care of people. But I felt a very strong connection to it, that this is what I was meant to do, this is who I was even meant to be. I think, for me, it's being true to yourself and being true to the cause, and actually really listening to your inner voice and trusting it. Most people don't trust their gut, their heart, and it confuses you. You're not really sure which way to go and you're easily influenced too.
Dina Patel: I think I've always tried to tend to listen more to myself and my gut, and I think I don't really have a reason why I chose to do that, it just felt more natural to me to do that. Ultimately, I want to live a life where my grandkids and their grandkids will be proud to be like, "This is who was a part of our family," and to love that legacy.
Elena Ledoux: I have a cool grandma.
Dina Patel: Yeah, like a kick butt grandma. I think that was really important to me, to be able to live that type of very honest and transparent lifestyle, and to do the best you can and to do all the good you can while you're here, because you don't actually have that much time to truly make a difference. Don't take things for granted, and you keep moving. I think that's something you say, keep kicking your feet.
Elena Ledoux: Yes. That's my guiding principle. That's really excellent. I feel like you are doing incredible work, and I feel like people like you should be embraced and supported by society. If people want to learn more about you, about the work that you do, where can they find you?
Dina Patel: You can find the work that we're doing through healthysunrise.org, you can reach out to me via Facebook, you can email me if you [crosstalk 00:15:32].
Elena Ledoux: You will get all these creepy messages.
Dina Patel: Yeah. Well, you can send me a Facebook message and reach out.
Elena Ledoux: Okay.
Dina Patel: I would [crosstalk 00:15:39].
Elena Ledoux: How can people help? Do they need to donate the money on your website?
Dina Patel: Yeah. I think our biggest need right now is obviously financial contribution. We love the supplies for the babies and moms. Our biggest challenge has been getting the supplies over there, so if we have enough ...
Elena Ledoux: [crosstalk 00:15:57].
Dina Patel: Yeah, finances, that we can just maybe order the stuff from Nigeria and just make sure that it's getting to the local people, versus us trying to lug hundreds of pounds of baby supplies and momma supplies from here. Even though it's nice, it's just logistically, it's been a good challenge, but we just aren't able to carry everything over with us every time we go.
Elena Ledoux: People can just go to healthysunrise.org and make a contribution?
Dina Patel: Absolutely, yeah. It would be very much appreciated.
Elena Ledoux: Okay, perfect. Well thank you so much, and those advices are awesome, and I'm definitely going to give them a try.
Dina Patel: All right. Thank you so much for having me.
Elena Ledoux: Okay, bye.
To learn more, check out Healthy Sunrise Foundation.
To connect with Dina Patel, contact her at LinkedIn.