Doctor Doctor

With all the medical stuff going on in my life and in my Mom’s, I decided to make a quantum leap and step out of the norm and change Doctors. This is always an interesting decision to make, and sometimes hard, but in this case it was a piece of cake.

Since I have moved to this part of the country I have been even less impressed than usual with the health system. I’ve never been that impressed to begin with, but here and there one can find a decent provider. My doctor from where I moved had a relationship with me for 18 years or so, and while it wasn’t perfect, I did like her. She still was very traditional, but she did seem to care and listened…for the most part. But she had her great limitations based on the Western tradition of medicine.

Leaning toward a different way of life than most, and being an outside the box person, sometimes I test the patience of Doctors (and many people I meet). This is something I am not ashamed of, actually I’m quite proud of it, although I’ve come by this with some tough moments in life.

Being the odd woman out is not always easy and often leaves one feeling alone or odd, but I’ve come to embrace my differences and see them as good. And those that embrace me for them, I consider special and wonderful friends. And those special Doctors who understand that I don’t fit the mold of a ‘normal’ patient (and I don’t mean in this case that I have mental illness–although some may think I do)–I simply mean that I don’t embrace the typical style of medicine we see now…especially these days.

The more I am around Doctors, hospitals, providers and caregivers–the more I see folks that don’t much care about an individual, I see youth and immaturity, often rude and harsh behaviors, cut corners and people without true listening skills or compassion. Not always, but generally. It’s very, very disheartening. And when this happens with patients that can’t advocate for themselves, or don’t really know what to expect–it spells disaster.

Patients forget they are the customer and deserve the attention and care their money is buying. They feel that anything a Doctor says must be true because they went to school for so long and paid so much for their educations. But sadly, this isn’t always the case. We all have the right to question something if we feel, in our guts, that it isn’t right for us–even if a Doctor says it is–or even just to ask a question. It should be team-work, not a dictatorship. And there should always be a sense the Doctor truly cares.

So in this vein, I decided to find a new, more holistic approach to my health care. No more typical Western approach: sterile waiting areas, answering systems where no humans answer the phone, lost faxes and Doctors looking at computers instead of you. I’ve had it with this type of care! I remember the days when a Doc came to my home to see me. This is a far cry from those days…

A quick search found me a holistic Doctor right near my home. I called the office, left an easy message (there were no thousands of mailboxes I had to press 1 or 2). My message was answered the next day promptly, and I had a lovely conversation with the office person Carol the next day–we spoke for maybe 15 or so minutes about our respective lives! It was refreshing. And appointment was made.

When I came for the appointment, the office smelled wonderful: of incense and herbs. The office was lovely with beautiful music (not Muzak). My visit was one hour-long (a couple of times the Doc went out to see others) and we spoke about what the plan was for me and what I hoped to get from our relationship together.

I’m going to do acupuncture, herbal remedies and maybe some other modalities to help fix some chronic issues. Honestly, I’m really very healthy most the time, so I may not even see her that much. She respects that I may need to see some Western Docs for certain things, she’s cool with that for sure. And if I have a bone sticking out of me someday (hopefully not) that I have to go to any emergency room anyway. Of course! But she said she helps her patients getting ready for surgeries with special things so they heal faster and without scars.

I came away feeling very positive. Hey, 1000 years of Chinese medicine can’t be all wrong. And certainly I have not felt right about what’s been going on with my treatment thus far, so why not? Anything is worth a try. She seemed caring and positive and very attentive. I felt comfortable and peaceful.

And best of all: she spoke to me directly and not into a computer!






Two days before Christmas and today was a hard day on the ambulance and in the fire department. My ambulance call was a 43-year-old woman dying of cancer. She didn’t really need 911, she really needed hospice, but her home care worker called us instead. They often do. So we went and I transported her.

There was nothing I could medically do honestly–she had a port, and didn’t want me to start an IV. I can’t use the port, so couldn’t give her any medications to make her feel better. So my only help could be emotional support.

When I asked what I could do, she broke down and cried. Cried about the three children she would leave behind. I cried with her. And hugged her. That was all I could do. There are no amount of IV’s or medications that can heal a mother’s broken heart or worry for the kids that will be left when she leaves this earth.

And my second call was for a third alarm fire. A barn attached to a home. At first we thought it belonged to a family, but later found out it was apartments where college kids lived. Luckily they are all home on vacation. It did house someones workshop and they lost valuable tools, and also antique ones that were in the family for a generation. No-one was hurt luckily, but property was lost.

So my thought to you all tonight is remember: remember to be grateful, thankful and joyful. Whatever troubles you may have, I guarantee you would take yours back if given the choice of taking someone else’s.

Happy Holidays

To What Lengths…?


What are these creepy blotches you ask…and why are they so blurry? Well, they are bruises and they are on my back and they are blurry because I took the picture myself. So why do I have creepy, blurry round bruises on my back you ask? It’s a rather long story and it has to do with the lengths that one will go to get rid of pain.

About two years ago I started to have headaches. They began rather suddenly, always on the right side of my head and were fairly debilitating. Sometimes I have a earache too, pressure, no real stuffiness or anything else. They would move a bit around my head: sometimes to the back, over the eye, the temple–but always on the right side. Now, I do have a history of migraines from a child, but they were always preceded by an aura, which these do not have–nor have I had one for many years. They seemed to have triggers also.

So they got so bad and so constant I finally went to urgent care after months of dealing with them. They never saw anything in my ear except fluid and prescribed a med mostly to just dry me out. This barely helped. They continued. Then I tried my doctor and we thought maybe sinuses. So we tried antibiotics. This didn’t help either over the long run. They kept on…weeks turned into a year. Almost daily: if not pain, then at least pressure. My life was becoming pretty much a living hell.

I’m a paramedic as some of you know by now. I deal with many patients with chronic pain issues. I’ve always tried to be understanding, but I never really got it. Until one year turned into two years. I visited my neurologist for my mild seizure disorder and she sent me to their ‘headache’ specialist. This person’s main remedy was going to be medications…pills. Pills for the pain, for sleep, muscle relaxants etc. Typical western medicine’s answer to everything. Treat the symptoms, but no answers as to why this is happening.

My accident in September surely didn’t help whatever initiated this all. I have read reams of stuff now: on headaches, on migraines–you name it. Every provider I see has the answer. My dentist was sure it was tooth grinding and was going to fit me with a $500 ‘appliance’ that wasn’t covered under my insurance. No thanks. They wanted me to get a sleep study. I don’t sleep well, but I’m pretty certain I don’t have sleep apnea all of a sudden. But I did decide to try acupuncture.

This has been an adventure unto itself. Honestly, I had a lot of faith in it at first. I’ve had it before and it worked pretty well with other things. But right from the get go I didn’t have a great rapport with the practitioner. And the ‘answers’ for what was wrong didn’t intuitively feel right to me. It just felt like she was grasping at straws. I’ve had three treatments and the cupping with not a bit of changes. The cupping is what has left me with those awful bruises. I’m a bit embarrassed by the bruises to be honest. I’m not sure what I’ll tell the folks in the pool! Plus the acupuncturist kind of makes me feel badly that I can’t just leave work every week to get a treatment! Sheesh.

So I’m starting to think about a new way to think of these headaches. I may just simply have to embrace them as part of me. What if they will just never get better and I have to live with them forever? What if it’s like something that is part of me now? Can I learn to live with this pain level all the time? I simply refuse to be on drugs forever. I see my patients that get hooked and I just don’t want to do it. I will try a few more treatments and see if it works….and then, well, I don’t know. It may be that this is just me now. Can’t say that I’m thrilled, but I suppose it could be worse.