Being Your Own Advocate in Wellness Care

Recently I had a conversation with a gentlemen who bemoaned the climate of fear we have created in our society. (I have said something similar many times myself—that the news and media continuously ratcheting up their sensationalism has made us more fearful and less rational!)

But the focus of this person’s complaint was healthcare. He first mentioned the awful TV commercials that described in morbid detail the potential side effects of various medications (and also noted just how many such commercials there are these days—antidotes for whatever ails you!).

Then he went on to criticize websites where a person could research medical conditions ad nauseum, and how reading about possible complications (that may never happen) could scare us to death.

His solution was to completely shun all research and avoid information available on the internet. No misinformation, no undue fear. He actually said that if a doctor found something wrong with him, he would ask the doctor NOT to tell him what it was. Just to treat it and fix it.

This so completely flew against my own belief that knowledge is power, and that it’s imperative that we be informed and direct our own health care, that I couldn’t even think of a diplomatic response.

The very next day there was an article in our local newspaper written by Dr. Philip Caravella, MD that hit the nail on the head. The title is “The doctor can’t do it alone,” and at one point he writes, “You must become the captain of your ship. You must take more responsibility for your own wellbeing. …Your physician cannot do it all. Medicine has made huge strides in the diagnosis and management of many common chronic life-threatening illnesses. We have all sorts of specialized imaging techniques and new procedures geared toward curing diseases, and new surgical methods to treat and defeat cancer. What we lack is the forethought—the will and desire to win.

“It’s time for medical practitioners and patients to learn what it takes to prevent medical problems, rather than to treat them and their related complications. … A physician’s job is to educate, to deliver and to motivate. Your job is to act.”

Hm, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?

Someone presented an idea at a seminar I took a while back: that western medicine has become very passive. We go to a doctor, the doctor gives us a shot or a pill or a procedure, and we expect that to fix the problem. We want the doctor to treat us, while we don’t really have to do anything except receive that treatment.

While eastern medicine—which is more about staying healthy rather than treating illness—is more proactive. Whether it’s paying attention to what we eat, staying active, avoiding unhealthy things, practicing meditation and appreciating the energy of thoughts, seeking out therapies like acupuncture and reflexology to actually boost wellness and help the mind and body function optimally—individuals are more responsible for their wellbeing and more mindful about prevention and vitality.

In our country, we tend to think we can only have those treatments that are covered by insurance. Many are so reluctant to pay for additional services out of pocket. (What do we spend our money on, one could argue, that we could potentially live without? And what is more important than our health, really?)

So we take what the doctors give us, and once our insurance company says we can’t have any more shots or physical therapy sessions, etc., we accept that this is as good as it gets. But what if it isn’t?

I encourage you to research, explore alternative solutions—what else is possible? You might read about complications that sound scary, and you might come across misinformation or information that doesn’t apply to you.

But to avoid possibilities is just self limiting. It seems crazy to me to let fear hold us back. This is our quality of life we’re talking about!

We owe it to ourselves to be the best advocates we can be for our own health and wellbeing. Ask questions, seek information, get second opinions, explore all your options.

Stay strong and be well my friends!

doctor stethiscope

Category : Blog &Health &Massage Therapy Posted on April 6, 2016

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