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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Conclusion to earlier Medical Practices Blog


I have learned a great deal since posting my controversial blog on what I felt was (as titled) "The Corruption of Medical Practices in America." I got many responses from this entry, all welcomed with open arms. I heard anger from those who are in the medical fields. I heard confusion from those who have never had any problems with their own medical care. I heard celebration from several who feel exactly the way I do and know a change needs to be made.

With this new entry I am suggesting that the change need not be made within the medical field. The change needs to be made with all of the patients.

While writing my first entry on medicine, although passionate about the subject, I did feel like somewhat of a ranting protester. My personal belief has always been that protesting is a waste of energy in any arena and that it promotes more anger and corruption. My favorite quote of Mother Theresa:

"I was once asked why I don't participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I'll be there."
-Mother Theresa (1910-1997)

And even while writing within my deep beliefs and agony over medicine in America, I did feel a bit of a struggle with writing it all out publicly. I do stay away from negativity as much as possible and complaining about anything makes me feel out of place. This has stuck with me and I have seemed to be given a resolution to close up this problem of ours and within me.

After sitting through a very long meeting just tonight covering the medical practices of the military I find myself in, it all came together for me. The Doctors trained in America, very much on the whole just do what they are told. They are sheep for several reasons. For insurance, for educational purposes, for safety. I cannot imagine how scary it must be to have the lives of hundreds if not thousands of people in your hands. So they must do what they must do. I will not propose to understand why.

As a human who cares about my body and my child's body, I have decided to become our own primary Doctors. Even this night, what I thought to be true was given straight to me as fact. When asked by the crowd how to deal with long wait times in medical clinics, being put on hold with serious questions on the phone, not getting appointments as soon as they wanted, etc., a very senior Doctor who is in management of our medical world here on Okinawa, went through a long list of reasons why these things occur. And after a rather long and dreary speech about how Docs offices operate and why, he asked for a show of hands if anyone had a self help medical book in their home. I of course raised my hand and saw hardly any others raise theirs. He said it was the first step anyone should take before running to a Doctor's office or the dreaded time vacuum I refer to as the ER. He said the right books should be taken camping and searched on YOUR OWN before consulting any MD. I wanted to stand up and clap for him. He was so right. I immediately knew I had become one of the patient sheep. I have been herded in and out of whatever string of offices of the Dr's of my past have sent me to and I have gone in to any medical place with no education and no questions prepared, on the whole. I had the typical "whatever you say Doc!" -attitude.

What I have been thinking lately is that we need to be more forceful. We need to have detailed lists of questions prepared and in writing, so when we go in to be seen and get rushed and pushed around, we do not get confused and leave feeling awkward and empty. We need to research ourselves more. We need to KNOW for sure what is right for us. And we need to push back. In a peaceful way, we need to demand our opinions and kindly tell each practitioner we see that we expect and deserve the care that we are comfortable with and nothing less. WHO CARES WHAT THE REACTION MIGHT BE? This is your one and only body people.

My Mother-in-law who is a nurse taught me to remember that Doctors are HIRED BY US and working FOR US and people so often forget that. We feel the Drs can just say and do whatever they think!? It may be annoying to shop around for a good Doc that fits. It might be tiring doing your own research. But we need to be our best guides. We need our gut instincts and personal opinions to be the first and final choice in our minds for our bodies. And if you are like me and do not get to pick your own Dr, then preparation and paperwork under your arm is the best way to go with each guessing game of a visit.

So the problem lies within the patient. I think we all need to voice our knowledge more. We all need to be better prepared. We all need to be honorable patients, in honor of ourselves. Then maybe, who knows, the DRs out there who are NOT honorable, will learn to follow suit.

"Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.'

-- Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

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