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!





Positive Connections

I did the hard thing and brought my new pup back to the humane center yesterday. It was a hard thing to do, but something the trainer there suggested strongly. After attacking my older dog and being pushy with me, they wanted to re-evaluate him and hopefully find him a more suitable home.

Being an adoptee myself, giving something back awakens all sorts of demons inside of me. What if I had been given back if someone didn’t like me? It’s not really a choice I ever like to make to be honest. But as much as I liked this little guy, it seemed like it would probably be the best move for all of us. And in the end, it even had a ¬†silver lining.

Because he was such a high energy and anxious dog, I had asked my middle daughter and her boyfriend to move in with me to help care for him. They had been living with his parents and were unhappy there, especially my daughter. I have lived alone for a long time, and for the most part, enjoy it. While I do get lonely at times and love my kids, I can’t say sharing my home with lots of people–especially ‘boyfriends’ (mine or others) was something I longed to do.

So after I gave him back, I wasn’t so sure I would have the same need to live with these kids. The boyfriend was having huge separation anxiety from him family and needed to be there all the time. And my daughter appeared to be attached to his hip. As I drove home from dropping Pip off, I called her and suggested they simply move back and I would manage another arrangements for my other dogs.

My daughter got quite upset saying I didn’t like any of her boyfriends blah blah and we went back and forth. I told her she was always welcome to stay without him and that it had nothing to do with me not liking him, but rather not wanting to LIVE with him. But finally she said wanted me to pick her up from their home (which once again they were visiting) so we could talk.

When she got in the car, she told me that she and the boyfriend had been discussing the living arrangements and they had come to a decision. I waited. My usually very confused and immature daughter told me they had decided he would move back to his parents and she would stay with me! I was shocked and delighted. Never in my wildest dreams did I think she would make such a smart decision!

So in the end I realized something: Pip and I did something for each other. Without him coming into my home, my daughter would never have moved out of the bad situation she was in and back into my house. There never would have been a reason to get them to do it. My daughter was miserable in their house too. And the trainer said that we were like a temporary home for Pip to teach him more manners, house training  etc. to get him ready for his permanent home. So we both did good for each other.

I’m trying to look at it then as a positive connection for us all. They said I could call to check on him. I’m hoping his sweetness comes through and he finds a home with no other dogs and someone committed to spend lots of time with him. With those combinations I think he will be fine. Because things do happen for a reason they say all the time. I’ve missed my daughter and have never liked her living with her boyfriend’s family. I only hope this lasts!

My older dog is sick now and this is why Pippy may have attacked him according to the trainer. Just like in the wild, the dog vying for dominance will fight his way to the top. It is sad I had to give him up given my other dog may not be here long. But this isn’t the wild and Brinks deserves to die in peace. And then I will be left only with my Bo. He is my most wonderful friend anyway. And there I think I will stay for a while: a one dog gal. Keep life simple for a bit!

And so it goes: one four-legged kid leaves and one two-legged one comes back. Such is the life of a second half woman!