One of the hardest things for people to admit is that they may be in fact the biggest roadblock when it comes to their health issue.
I know I have been, and it actually took me a while to admit it and be accountable for it too.
First… Let’s take the personal out of it
So before I begin talking about this issue, that will probably trigger people, I will again, as usual, ask you to take the personal out of this. This is not an attack on anyone, and it is purely to help those that need help in this area. At the end of the day, we are all accountable for our own health.
Finding your team
Now, before I really start, let’s not forget that there are so many people who have been missed and dismissed over the years, and the impact that has on ones physical and mental wellbeing.
I know with my own health issues, how long it took to find “my team” of people that could help me. Yes, I said team. I said team, because that is quite often what it takes to help many health issues, and why I now promote a multimodality/integrative medicine approach to any health issue.
Many have been missed and dismissed
I truly feel sorry for those who have had so many things missed and been dismissed along the way. It should never happen, but unfortunately it does. As I always say, there is good and bad in every profession, and not everyone is good at their job either.
Yes, there needs to be more education and awareness of certain health conditions, but at the same time, some people are part of their own issues too. We do need to face the facts that some people are really their own biggest roadblock to recovery. This is why I am focussing in on this issue for this post. Again, it is to help people, not about blaming.
Everyone is fighting a battle others do not know
Over my many years in practice, I have just about seen it all. I am sure there is more to see, but boy oh boy have I seen lots of things, and lots of people. Everybody is fighting a battle that nobody else knows about, and there are some who will always think they are worse than anyone else, when in fact, they are exactly the same, or not even near the worst. Some people do want to buy into the label of their disease, and be known to be the worst case anyone has ever seen.
Buying into the label that you are the worst case
I remember recently one of my patients telling me that there she was waiting for surgery in the hospital, and waiting in the pre-theatre waiting area. She explained that there was this one lady who was loud and was telling anyone who would listen how bad she was, and how the hospital file on her was so large. Well, so she thought.
So this patient of mine remained quiet as this other lady proclaimed about her large file the nurse was carrying and how often she had been in there. It was 1 folder and it was about half full. Then the nurse bought over my patients file, which was much larger, and then said to that she had to go and get the other folder that was already full. The loud lady almost stopped in her tracks.
Then she looked and my patient and said to her “ You have 2 folders?”… “no” she said…. “I have three” and then went back to minding her own business. Not a peep out of the loud lady again. But the point was, some people like to be known as being the worst, yet I always say to everyone, there is always someone far worse, but it is all relative at the end of the day.
But I have seen many practitioners
I’ve also seen many patients, that see multiple practitioners over the years and sometimes they are in the position they are in, because they actually never listen to the advice given too. Again, this is not to discredit anyone, but as someone who sees both sides, it does happen… and often.
When I do see someone whom has seen many practitioners over the years, and then goes on to say that nothing has helped them, I do always air on the side of caution. Of course, it could be possibly be true too.
Assessing someone properly
When I see a patient for a first time, there are many things that they have to do before I see them face-to-face. I get them to fill out lots of paper work on their health history and also do a psychological profile on them too. It is important to know where they are at emotionally. I then go over it all and then write up a 20-page report for them and give them all the recommendations and health management outlines too. They are also given a pack of information and resources on everything that they need to do.
It isn’t about just getting the health advice
I know with some of my own patients, many of them come and get the advice, and that is it. I know every so often I get mothers coming into a consult, or joining in on a zoom consult, on behalf of adult children mind you, and saying how their daughter is still in pain, or still has this, or that going on, and they want to know why. Often the actual patient is sitting there at the same time, alongside mum, explaining how bad everything is, and how nothing has changed. I usually let them have their rant, and then wait for the right time.
This is where I often sit back and smile and nod politely and then get out the 20-page report and their clinical notes. Then I have a look to see what they have or have not done, or taken and then just wait.
This is also where I calm the patient, and mother down, and empathise with their pain and symptoms and then it is my turn to speak.
“So … Mrs XYZ, I know you are concerned about your daughter, so let’s look through your daughters file and all the notes and report she was given”
“So…. Patient XYZ, remember when you first came in and we went over what you need to do, and everything was written out step by step?”
“So… Patient XYZ… I can see here you haven’t had any of your medicines yet?”
“So… Patient XYZ… I can see that you haven’t booked in any of the treatments yet?”
“So … Patient XYZ… I can see that you haven’t gone and had those investigations yet”
Then I usually let that digest and then go on to explain that nothing is going to change, if you don’t actually take your medicines, do the necessary changes, see the psychologist, get the tests and investigations and do what is needed to start improving.
I then explain that if you don’t actually do anything, how is something ever going to change?
This is usually where mum goes quiet, and then starts giving the daughter dagger eyes, and I have to then bring it all back in about being proactive, and today we are going to start doing what is needed.
I then tell them both I will check up and make sure the patient has started everything, and that they need to come back in a few weeks time and let’s start monitoring the progress. I always explain that how sometimes knowingly, or unknowingly, we can be our own worst enemy, and our own biggest roadblock.
It isn’t always someone else’s fault that you aren’t getting better
It isn’t the other practitioner’s fault they hadn’t got better; it was actually themselves not doing what was asked of them, thus hindering their own progress. Once this has been identified, and we do some work around this and the light bulb goes off, these people then get great progress.
I think I have heard every excuse on why someone has not done what he or she is meant to do, or has been advised to do. I’ve heard everything from “I’ve been too busy”… right through to “I have done that before and it didn’t work”
The thing is, we are all busy, and we may have done something similar before, but did you actually do it properly and consistently?
When I was my own roadblock
I remember years ago I had a niggling injury and my chiropractor said to me that I needed to do some stretches in between to help it heal quicker. I went home and did the stretches and it was staying pretty much the same. So when I went back he said to me “You mustn’t be doing the stretches I showed you?”
I said I was, and he was scratching his head. “Are you sure you are doing them everyday?”
The truth was I started out doing them everyday, but then I got busy, and it was sporadic, and when I really was honest with myself, I wasn’t doing what he had asked. So after that appointment I went home and I did the stretches everyday and guess what? … Yep it improved.
It is about going home and doing the recommendations
I think people often forget that when we see a healthcare practitioner, we are only seeing them for a short period of time, and it is really up to you to go home and then do the work in between. It is about being consistent with treatments, taking your medicines, doing the homework asked of you, getting the testing and investigations, changing your diet and other habits, and working on the emotional side too.
It is about doing everything that is asked of you and doing it 100%. We don’t just take 1 tablet of an antibiotic and expect it to magically help an infection. It is about doing and finishing the prescribed course. Sometimes several courses may be needed. But you get my point. It is about being honest with oneself and actually doing it. You can’t do things half hearted, or sporadic, because you just won’t get the results.
If after doing the prescribed treatment and not getting any better, then it is time to sit down and look at other treatments and bring in other things. But more often that not, if you stick to what you have been told to do, and be consistent, it will work.
If you change nothing, nothing changes
Just remember, that if you change nothing, nothing changes. Managing a health condition is like preparing and training for a marathon. You need to put in the work, do the training, eat the right foods, have the right mental outlook, get plenty of sleep, drink plenty of water, take your supplements, and do what ever is asked of you by the coach to get you over the line. Who knows, you may even win the race if you do it all properly.
Change requires you to step up and be the change
The same goes for your health, and health conditions. Do what your healthcare practitioner asks, take your medicines, change what needs to be changed, work on your emotions, change your diet, do that exercise and do whatever it is that is asked of you. Who knows, you might just win the race to help your health get better too.
If you are having trouble with a health condition, and feel like nobody is helping you, or you aren’t getting any better, you can always call my friendly staff and find out how I may be able to help you.
-No Stone Left Unturned
-Master of Women’s Health Medicine
-The Experts Program