Collaborating For Your Health

I have noticed that there are three different types of people when it comes to how they view their doctors. One type of person falls mostly into the generation of my parents. They listened to their doctors and that was that. They didn’t question. If the doctor was wrong, they didn’t search out another doctor, except in extreme situations. My mother, for instance, has a doctor who was clearly not listening to her and not giving her the help she needed. She would be in tears after every visit. She was in a lot of pain and he was telling her she just had to live with it. She read about other people with debilitating arthritis being helped. He didn’t answer any questions about what they were doing and merely kept on with the same ineffective treatments and offered her a referral to a therapist to learn to live with her pain.

Finally after both my father and I kept telling her to find another doctor, she did. This man was able to help her. He probably did more by merely touching her crippled hand and saying it looked painful than the other doctor could have done with all the treatments she had asked about. Further, this doctor did something to help alleviate the pain (at least for a short time).

Patients like my mother will come into my office and talk to me. Maybe they get some help. However, even if they are helped and they tell their doctor they are doing acupuncture and the doctor tells them he doesn’t think it’s helpful, they will often stop. This is despite their experience to the contrary. The doctor knows all.

Other patients don’t care what their doctor says. They don’t like the way a medication makes them feel. They read about it online and then stop because they don’t like what they read. They reject anything their regular doctor says if they read something online that offers another view point. They mistrust that their doctor knows anything. These patients spend an inordinate amount of time trying to learn everything they can about their symptoms. They ask lots of questions at my office but don’t want to see a naturopath who could help them further. Even then, they seem to second guess all of their providers asking questions that are better suited to another practitioner of the person they are in front of.

Finally there are those patients who understand that their doctors are human. All healthcare providers have biases, even if they don’t like to admit it. They all see things through the lens of humanity which varies from practitioner to practitioner. They all have areas of expertise and areas they are not familiar with. They have also studied their particular modality of medicine for sometime. Most of them are good at what they do. Working with a doctor is far better than letting the doctor try and do everything. They do make mistakes. They are human. Working with the doctor is better than trying to second guess and find the flaws in everything recommended. Chances are there are flaws in breathing. I believe it can cause death over the long term.

Working together, the practitioners know their areas of expertise. The patient knows their body. Together they can work towards the most effective healing and health.

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Bonnie Koenig has been a licensed acupuncturist since 1999. She is passionate about helping people find real healing and real health. In the process she keeps asking about our attitudes towards sickness and health. Only by being clear on what sickness is, can we ever find health.

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