Posted in Editorials

Take an Active Role in Your Doctor Visits

doctor-visits-300x200

Patient-doctor relationships are a partnership and require understanding and compassion from all parties involved in a patient’s care, whether you are an adult or receiving medical care for a child. Taking an active role in your health care and working alongside your doctor will help you to better communicate your needs and achieve your medical and personal health goals.

Here are a few tips you can follow on your next doctor visit.

  • Write down a list of your concerns and prioritize them.
  • Make a list of the medications and vitamins you are taking and update your doctor.
  • Consider bringing a family member or friend with you for support.
  • Update your doctor on what happened in your life since your last visit. Mention any changes you’ve noticed in appetite, weight, sleep, energy levels or any changes in medications.
  • Talk about your habits and daily activities you enjoy. It will help him or her to understand your medical conditions and recommend the best options.
  • Get information about new medications your doctor is prescribing – side effects, unusual interactions with other medicines or allergic reactions. Make sure you understand directions for correct dosages.
  • Ask questions about medical tests that are being ordered:

-Why is the test being done?
– What steps does the test involve? How should I get ready?
– Are there any dangers or side effects?
– How will I find out the results? How long will it take to get the results?
– What will we know after the test?

  • Discuss choices, different treatments, risks and benefits.
  • Learn who the other members of the healthcare team are and communicate with them as well- nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, occupational or physical therapists.
  • Ask about prevention measures.
  • Don’t be afraid to call or email your doctor with any follow up questions or concerns after your visit.

Most importantly, remember that your doctor is there to provide guidance, encouragement and medical expertise to achieve the highest possible outcomes for you. If  you don’t agree with something, speak openly with your doctor.

Posted in Editorials

What you don’t know won’t hurt you

If you cheat on your partner and he or she never finds out, no one gets hurt. So they say. I’m not sanctioning this thought. But, maybe not knowing what ultimately could lead to a broken relationship and family, filled with severe emotional pain and suffering, is better than knowing and tearing apart what you have, marred by a foolish mistake.

Does the same go for your body? What if you had an illness or disease and never found out what it was. Would it make your life better not knowing, or worse being left in the dark about your health?

I recently met a couple who shared with me their love history together.  They met as teenagers at their local hometown diner where she was a waitress and he was just stopping in with friends to grab a quick bite to eat. Long behold, they connected and went on their first date a week later. A year later they were hopelessly in love. 5 years later they were moving in together. 7 years later they were married and 10 years later they were having their first child.

25 years later the man was healthy as can be, but oddly began experiencing symptoms of memory loss and confusion.   His wife thought going to see a neurologist would help steer them to what was going on. Before his visit to the neurologist’s office, he told his wife he would go in and explain his symptoms, but when it came time for a diagnosis, he wanted her to receive the official diagnosis or explanation of what was happening to him, while he stepped out of the room.  She asked him if he was sure, he said yes and she agreed.

The neurologist did his examination and was on the tip of telling the couple what was wrong, when the man stopped him and told him to wait while he stepped out. Baffled by what was going on, the neurologist insisted he come back in. His wife told the doctor that was his wish and he wanted her to receive the diagnosis for him. So she did. After getting the diagnosis, they drove home and all she said to him was; it’s all going to be fine. You are going to be fine.

2 years later, the man’s symptoms slowly began diminishing. He was eating healthier, exercising every day and began practicing meditation- all on the wise advice of his wife.

Now, he’s symptom free, like nothing ever happened.

Now, it took a lot of guts for his wife to take on the burden of his diagnosis, and not everyone could do that. But, ultimately, his illness was reversed just by him thinking he was totally fine and never finding out what was actually wrong.   He never learned what the neurologist told his wife, nor did his wife disclose it me.

The point of the story is; our minds are capable of so much more than we realize. The power we can unleash just thinking positive, feeling positive and being positive is relentless.

Receiving bad news has a profound effect on our physical and mental health. Our brains filter negative images and words, and induce feelings of anger, depression, anxiety or sadness, which in turn affects our bodies.  This is what stress is.  When stress begins to flow through our bodies, ailments begin to unfold, aches and pains begin and we search for answers as to why.

Now, we can never completely shut off or sensor bad news. We cannot run from life.  Financial troubles, medical issues, relationship struggles and work stress is all part of life and sometimes it makes us a better person, stronger and more attuned to life, to take it all in and deal with it head on.

It may be better to learn about your illness, accept it and face it head on, as it would be to know your partner has cheated on you, accept it and move on.

But in some cases, it can only progress what you are trying to avoid from happening. The couple wanted to avoid the man’s illness from getting worse, so he turned his mind toward positive reinforcements. He never once believed he had any illness and he listened to his wife saying everything would be fine.

Any physician reading this may say, “Have you totally lost it? You have to know what’s wrong with you. You need to know your diagnosis in order to get better.”

But what about people in the middle ages who didn’t have access to physicians, or before enough studies were conducted to even be able to give a proper medical diagnosis. What did those people rely on? Some believed our bodies related to the four elements of earth, air, fire and water, ancient Chinese Medicine talks about channeling our chi to restore balance and rid ourselves of sickness, and some believed in the higher spirits to make it all better.

Medicine has come a long way since then and we are more capable now of knowing and understanding human anatomy than we were before. But maybe revisiting how they did things in the olden days isn’t so bad. They relied on the power of their own bodies and minds.

I did ask the woman, if her husband get worse or his symptoms never disappeared, would she then tell him. Her response was; “I never once believed he wouldn’t get better.”

That is the power of believing.