The Universe is beating me over the head

Madame Weebles —  June 1, 2012 — 67 Comments

You know how sometimes a bunch of things happen at once, and it kinda/sorta of gives you the idea that someone/Someone is trying to tell you something?

I’m having that kind of day. Two things happened this morning that made me cry, in a good way. They reminded me of things I had put on the back burner. And I think it means it’s time to take them off the back burner.

Last night I saw a dear friend of mine, and I did some reiki on her because she’s having a bit of a tough time right now. My intention was for her to gain some clarity and peace of mind regarding her situation. This morning she sent me a beautiful email to tell me that I helped her to see her situation more clearly and that now she feels able to forgive herself. I practically sobbed when I read this. It’s extremely humbling to know that I was able to help, and I feel so happy that I had the opportunity to do this for a friend.

About 10 minutes after receiving this amazing email, one of my colleagues came into my office. She and I have had several conversations about medical care—she’s caring for her elderly father—and about how much unmet need there is for patients and caregivers when dealing with the medical community. She told me that when my name has come up in conversation with others in our industry, one of the things frequently mentioned is that I fight for the people I work with and I make sure they don’t get overlooked. And then she asked me if I had ever considered working with patients.

I felt like I had been clobbered with a Cosmic Sledgehammer.

Since I became a Reiki Master I’ve become much more aware of the different ways I can help people. I can’t prescribe medication or perform surgery, but I can help people endure their treatment or surgery better. I can help people gain clarity on things that are bothering them. I can help empower them to get through really difficult times. Doing reiki has really opened me up to understanding how much is out there.

I’ve toyed many times with the idea of doing patient advocacy, because I know how helpless people can feel. Doctors can be intimidating, and unfortunately quite a few of them don’t really listen to patients very well. And that’s just for your average doctor visit. When you need to go to the hospital, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed. Mountains of paperwork, hospital staff who ask you the same questions over and over again, and quite often, no clear, direct communication about what’s happening. So patients and their families end up feeling like cogs in the machine, and the result is that they don’t get what they need. If they’re lucky, the experience is merely horrifically stressful. But in worse scenarios, people get the wrong treatment—or no treatment—because there’s nobody to stick up for them.

Over the past several years I’ve accompanied several friends and family members to doctor’s appointments, and I’ve spoken to veterinarians on behalf of friends whose pets were ill. I’ve been stunned by the lack of genuine interest and/or integrity shown by some of them. Too often, doctors will just say “There’s nothing wrong with your blood work” or “Your x-rays are fine,” and then dismiss the patient’s concern as unimportant or medically irrelevant. It infuriates me that they don’t explore other options. I would have more a lot more respect for a physician who said, “Your blood work looks fine, so I don’t know what the problem might be. Why don’t we look at [fill in the blank] as a possible cause.”

I want to grab these guys by their white coat lapels and yell, “Just admit that you don’t know, for crying out loud!” Don’t imply that because you don’t know the cause, the problem must not really exist. Maybe the problem is that you’re seeing 50 patients a day, so that gives you only 10 minutes with each patient. Maybe the problem is that you think your patient is a hypochondriac. Maybe the problem is that you’re phoning it in and you don’t really care all that much.

The point of all this rambling is that too often there’s no care in healthcare. Patients often get shortchanged in one way or another. And it pisses me off. I want to help—whether it’s through energy healing, or advocating for patients who don’t know where to turn, or a combination of those two things, or something else completely. It’s time for me to move these thoughts to the front burner. Otherwise the Universe is going to whack me over the head again.

67 responses to The Universe is beating me over the head

  1. 

    Reiki is, indeed, a great tool for boosting that connection to Oneness. One of the wonderful things about it is that as one gives a Reiki session, one is also receiving a Reiki session since we are but conduits for the energy to flow through. Furthermore, as I tell people, since Reiki is an intelligent energy, I don’t have to be…meaning, it is not my place to diagnose or try to figure out what’s wrong, simply to hold the energy of Source for all of us. And, yup, sounds like the Universe is slapping you upside the head! ;)

  2. 

    i’ve been ‘patient advocate’ for both of my parents. for three months, we tried to ‘staff’ my dad’s hospital room for at least 18 hours a day as he meandered toward death. i’d walk the hallway to his room on the oncology floor and see all of the folks without that support. and it broke my freakin’ heart…

    • 

      I know exactly what you mean, daisyfae. It’s heartbreaking to see so many people who are at doctor’s offices or hospitals alone, with nobody to help or visit them. I saw a lot of that when Mr. Weebles was in the hospital for his cancer treatment last year. It’s a sad, sad thing.

  3. 

    MW, I firmly believe in this; the Universe giving us clues about what we need to do. Your persona and elegant writing reflects who you are and I mean that sincerely. I think this (physicians shrugging peoples’ complaints off) are more common than we realize. A person that I love very much finally got the help he needed, but it took years for him to get there. I believe in the process you use as well and I firmly believe Western medicine will get there — marrying “standard” medicine with holistic practices — a more individualized way of healthcare.

    Years ago when I was going through a difficult time, I went to a holistic seminar, went through a few sessions of Reiki and other holistic “things.” When I left, I still wasn’t open to it and as I was backing out, I rammed my car into a gentleman that was driving a very expensive car. My first thought was, “Oh, God what am I going to do now?” I’d put a dent in his bumper and instead of him getting angry, he said: “Don’t worry about it. It’s not a big deal.” As he walked off, he said: “Take care of yourself, okay?”

    Universe whacked me on the head that day. Beautiful post — thank you.

    • 

      Thank you so much, Brigitte–your thoughts mean a lot to me. It’s sad that a lot of people experience the same thing as your friend — it can take years to get a diagnosis and proper treatment, and it’s exhausting and crazy-making. And NOT NECESSARY!

      And I like your story about the Universe whacking you on the head too—what a surprise that must have been, eh?

  4. 

    Deep stuff, Madam Weebles. I’ve often thought that the best way to approach career moves is to take into consideration the whole person; not just their desires and their skills, but their gifts, their temperaments, and their passions. The career moves you are contemplating seem to take into account a great deal of the best things that make you, Madam Weebles, who you are. Bravo for being able to hear that thwack on your head. Not everyone does.

  5. 

    Doctors continue to treat symptoms. Aren’t they supposed to teat the causes that create the symptoms?

  6. 

    um, this may be my favorite post of yours. seriously. it’s beautiful, it’s passionate, and it is awesome. there needs to be more humans like you in the world. and you would love wifesy. she is often – slicing vet bills in half if it gets the best care for the animals and she tries things – anything – to keep the animals alive, if it’s going to help their quality of life. when it’s not and someone’s just trying to keep an animal alive for their own interest, she gently talks them towards letting them go. she’s a damn good vet. i think this is because she’s deeply compassionate about the animals AND because she went into this as her second career. she didn’t go back to school until 32 and vet school at like 40, so she was VERY sure when she went into. instead of -say- trying to please her parents. you know? anyway, it doesn’t sound like you should do some advocacy. it sounds like you MUST. it sounds like some kind of healing art or advocacy is your calling. and that we must all follow. loved this, weebles, just loved it. xo, sm

    • 

      Thank you so, so much, SM. I value your opinion hugely. And Wifesy kicks ass, obviously. What a good soul—there’s a special place for her in Animal Heaven for everything she does. I wish I could bring the Weeblettes to see her. Thank you, thank you, again.

  7. 

    Sing it, Sister! I’ve been there. “I’ve been cheated; been mistreated; when will i be loved”…by the healthcare system?
    I think the world will be a better place with your healing touch.

    • 

      Awww, thanks, lady! I think we’ve all been there in some way. So now I’m going to yell, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore!” In a healing way, of course.

  8. 
    Fish Out of Water June 1, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    I’ve been through it with my own health issues and with my son and his health issues. It’s maddening when you know in your gut something is going on, but you don’t have MD behind your name to give you cred with the nurses and docs. I often think I sound like the crazy person when I try and tell docs what I think is going on. They kind of give you that “You’ve been on WebMD too much” look. I hate it. The world needs more patient advocacy, for sure.

    • 

      Yes, yes, yes, that’s another huge problem, Fish. WebMD and other sites are there to educate people, but it just seems to irk doctors when we try to arm ourselves with knowledge. It’s one thing for a doctor to be annoyed by a patient who insists that he/she knows the diagnosis and correct treatment just because he/she read a WebMD or NIH patient education page. But to look disdainfully at people who genuinely want to learn more so that they help themselves, their loved ones, AND their healthcare providers—that just sucks.

  9. 

    I’ve been stunned at the lack of genuine interest and/or integrity shown by some of them. <== This! This makes me rage.

    This is not the first time I say this and I'm afraid it won't be the last either. But I apologize in the name of the medical doctors of the world.

    That should never happen. EVER. We take and oath, for crying out loud. I take mine seriously even if I don't practice.

    I just want to slap them

  10. 

    It’s great when you see signs leading you clearly in a certain direction. Ugh — the medical ‘industry’ — ugh! See you later… I have to look up reiki now…

  11. 

    I think the Universe likes you, Madame–it really, really likes you. ;-)
    I have a friend who practices reflexology and has been trying for years to organize a mulit-services approach to patient care. I honestly think that the doctors are so overwhelmed, generally, that they don’t have the luxury of spending lots of time with their patients. I am SO Fortunate to have a GP who is a sole practitioner and blocks 3 hours for an annual physical! He truly is one of the last of his kind…we won’t let him retire. :-)
    In the meantime, we’ll look to kind and helpful people like you, who can work out problems and muscle kinks at the same time (and still hold her liquor).

    • 

      I’m going to have to schedule coffee dates with the Universe on a more regular basis, because now I feel bad that I’ve neglected it.

      And you’re right–the doctors are being gouged by insurance companies, so in order to make money they have to see a zillion patients a day, which entails zillions of tons of paperwork. I know many of them are indeed overworked and overwhelmed. But the *attitude* is what bothers me the most. 15 minutes of quality time would still better than nothing, but instead many patients get 15 minutes of being treated like brainless cattle. And yes, keep your GP from retiring at all costs!

  12. 

    As someone who has suffered through countless doctor appointments where I was treated as though I was interfering in their plans. I eventually found a doctor who listened and conducted the correct tests that found out what exactly was going on. I could have used your help. I probably still could.

    • 

      Hi Genie, and welcome to the Weebles Family! I’m so sorry you’ve been treated so poorly by your doctors. It’s awful to be regarded as an inconvenience during your own appointment time. Your experience is exactly the sort of thing I want to eliminate. Holler next time you have a doc’s appt—we’ll talk.

  13. 

    Have Doctors, surgeons (and vets) in the family. Docs- especially surgeons are extremely overworked – most of them now work for groups/hospitals who determine how many patients they see – and the length of those visits. Usually their day starts around 4:30 for rounds and may not end until late at night – then there’s the phone calls for consults and updates anywhere from 6-15 times all night long. The surgeons I know are exhausted and are tireless in working to make sure their patients get proper care.
    Still not all docs have good social skills needed to work with patients – You need choose your doctor carefully. Good doctors will say “while these tests look Ok let’s look at other possibilities and try to figure out what is happening.”
    On-line info – another whole topic – but information is generally good if it’s from solid authoritative sources…but let the doc talk – then discuss what you’ve found…sometimes people aren’t as good as they think with diagnosing themselves.
    One last thing. NEVER let a family member or friend stay in a hospital without someone there to advocate for them.
    You sound like you have a calling. There is great need.

    • 

      Thank you for this–I’m glad to hear the perspective of someone who knows what it’s like from the physicians’ side. I know a lot of them are in a tough spot, and that’s a great point about them having their workloads dictated to them by hospitals or group practices. I also know that there are plenty of doctors who hate the current healthcare system’s constraints as much as patients do. And you’re right, there are definitely patients who would try the patience of even the most caring of docs. I want to explore all of these issues as I look further into this advocacy thing.

  14. 

    You know what the universe has been trying to tell me? That I need to take a friend of mine up on the offer of Reiki. Thank you for the clue-in!

  15. 

    Weebles, you really nailed this one. I’ve been in practice as a P.T. and healer for almost 30 years and I have clients who call me before going to the doctor to get an idea of how to ask their questions. And we talk after they go so that I can help them decipher what was said. I always suggest that they write down their questions and refuse to leave until they’re satisfied. (And I have clients who simply say: “Thank God for Cathy. I don’t know how I would get through this if it weren’t for her support”) While I agree that many doctors are overworked, there is this issue of status in our Western Society and many people don’t feel comfortable questioning the “all-knowing” doctor. (Who is that man behind the curtain?!)

    Me? I’m a pain-in-the-butt to doctors because I insist that they answer my questions. Another thing that I learned in my D.P.T. program – informed consent is not about signing a paper that absolves the practitioner of responsibility. It’s about offering the patient an opinion but also going over risks, benefits and alternatives to the suggested course of treatment. Rarely do medical professionals offer these – especially the alternatives – so people often aren’t given all the information so they can make the best choice for themselves.

    Patient advocacy is soooo important. And I’m glad you’re listening to your guidance. The Universe will show you how incorporate this particular passion into your work in some way. I know this…

    Love,

    Cathy

    • 

      Thank you so much for this, Cathy. It’s great that you advocate for your clients too–I’m sure you’ve been a lifesaver for a lot of them. And you’re absolutely right about the issue of informed patient consent vs doctor non-accountability. So often it seems that doctors practice medicine “at” or “on” patients, with the patients as unwitting subjects. But doctors and patients should be partnering to identify the best treatment options. It’s important that patients understand everything so that they can make informed decisions. So I’m going to go with this and see where it takes me. Thank you again!

  16. 

    My dad, who resides in San Francisco, has full use of his marbles and continues to live independently. He is now older than dirt, but that’s fine with me. He’s also a widower with heart problems going back over 25 years. A few years ago his condition worsened. My two siblings and I, who are collectively 171 years old (but I assure you that we look quite good; call us decrepitude lite), were not ready to be orphans. Of even greater importance, Dear Old Dad was not eager to buy his rainbow. He despised his cardiologist who we were certain was a direct descendant of Josef Mengele, but we’re just a bunch of nobodies in the world and did not know where to turn. I whined about the situation to my boss who made one phone call to a very connected and influential NYC cardiologist friend. The next thing we knew he made a phone call to Stanford Medical Center and the doors to A-list health care opened. My dad got a new pacemaker and now has a terrific cardiologist who watches over him like a hawk. In addition, my dad tells me that his care is all covered under Medicare. Financially, he’s fine. Now, 3+ years later, we’re getting together this month to celebrate his granddaughter’s high school graduation, something he was sure he’d never be around to see three years ago when he was in rapid decline. My point is that quality medical care has as much to do with what you know as who you know. We knew he had entered freefall but we didn’t know where to turn. If I didn’t yap to my boss my dad would be dust, but if I didn’t know her, we’d be 171 year old orphans. Yet, if there’s a hope in hell that I can live to be older than dirt with what mind I have left, I don’t have much confidence in our health care system. You’re so right, there’s very little care there in health care. It’s very important to have someone there looking out. I think health advocacy could be a very noble profession. So, you go girl!

    • 

      So true about it involving who you know—sometimes you get lucky and you get a personal referral to a top-notch specialist. And I’m so glad your dad had one. But yeah, you’re right, it’s a freefall for anyone who doesn’t happen to know someone who knows someone. And you look super fabulous at 171!

  17. 

    I love this post and admire your dedication. I’m a big fan of patient advocacy. There are too many people out there who don’t know what to ask or why to care.

  18. 

    Sounds like you have a gift and a passion for helping – you should go for it! I agree, too often we have to be our own (or loved ones) health advocate. The medical field needs people like you!

    • 

      I agree—I mean, it’s always a good idea for us to be our own advocates in general, but yeah, for medical issues you really have to fight like hell sometimes. And I fight dirty, so I may as well use it to someone else’s advantage. ;)

  19. 
    AgrippingLife June 2, 2012 at 7:56 am

    I hear ya sister. You and I have a lot in common. I’m a mental health therapist. I was working part time and now I’m just taking a break, but I feel it’s time to start up again. it sounds to me like your a healer, that’s your gift. You’re compassionate and sensitive, etc. I’m guessing when you’re not doing these things you feel out of sorts. I know I do. It’s like the universe is calling you back. The patient advocacy thing takes a strong, passionate And intelligent person. It sounds like that’s where you belong : )

    • 

      I didn’t know you were a mental health therapist—that’s tough work, lady. We need lots of people like you too. I do feel sort of out of sorts when I don’t have an outlet to “avenge” people somehow. So I think this is the Universe’s way of telling me to put my Sicilian sense of justice to good use.

  20. 

    Here’s hoping you don’t get whacked. Dealing with the red tape regarding my father’s care has been my sister’s responsibility; she would have loved to have an advocate during the times leading up to her ability to handle this stuff herself. My father might be a doped up veggie by now. Yes, the field needs advocates. Go for it!

    • 

      Ugh, the red tape. Your poor sister. That’s a huge headache for so many people–by the time you get through with that, you’ve got no energy left for the actual medical stuff.

  21. 

    I see it all the time in the assisted living place my old folks are in… I see it in the hospital I work at.

    Not everyone is out to HELP those that need it, the focus is on other things… like shortening length of stay, reimbursement dollars…. staying profitable during the “healthcare reform”…

    The patient gets shuffled around…not given all the information… not given a chance to ask questions… to look into other treatments…

    all we can do is try and make a difference… give those that need it a chance…

    • 

      Exactly. I work in the healthcare industry (which is part of why I know what kind of stuff goes on), and you’re absolutely on target when you say that not everyone is out to help. There are a lot of agendas at play, and many of them do not have the patient’s best interests at heart. When patients benefit, it’s often a by-product of the healthcare industry’s best interests. Someone’s got to look out for the people who are the REAL drivers of the healthcare industry: the people who actually NEED the healthcare themselves.

  22. 

    It’s so great that you are able to be there for your friends :) the universe will bring good things your way

    • 

      Thanks!! I would like to be there for all kinds of people, not just the ones who are currently my friends. Except for douchebags. I don’t want to help douchebags. I’ll have to tell the Universe that part.

  23. 

    I am so loving this post. Thank YOU for sharing your thoughts and I agree. I think far too often in our society medical doctors only see things as black or white or non-existant…. or sometimes they see things that aren’t even there… all in the name of medicine or money (in the form of kick backs from doling out prescriptions that people don’t even need). How about getting to the root cause? How about going deeper?

    I love what you do. I’ve worked with energy healers and often when I do, I find what I needed in the form of clarity from my very own self.

    Thanks again and I hope you have a lovely day,
    Currie

    • 

      Preach it! That’s just how I feel about so much of this. And yes, generally speaking, I find that energy healing allows you to tap into what you already knew but couldn’t quite put your finger on before. It’s great stuff. Thank you so much for your comment!!

  24. 

    You advocated for my health care when that first place really sucked a big one. So, you know, you’ve got that going for you. 8^)

    There are some definite ideas and experiences coming together these days. Maybe the mystical energies of the universe have a plan, or maybe it’s all just coincidence. Either way, it’s pretty cool to see.

    • 

      You know I would have napalmed that place if I had to in order to get what you needed. Bastards. Fortunately/unfortunately for you, you’ll always get the most ferocious advocacy from me.

  25. 

    I must admit I thought I saw your name in the “who’s next” section of “Cosmic Sledgehammer News.”

    More seriously, if you’ve got the time and the passion, go for it. Joe Kittinger,who brushed death time and time again in his life in the services, said “everything good that’s happened to me came from volunteering.” I don’t jump from ridiculous heights, but in my experience he’s right.

    Cheers!

    • 

      Of course I should have known that you would know who Joe Kittinger is, Nigel—you know these things. That’s one of the many things I like about you. Yeah, Joe Kittinger…talk about badass. I certainly can’t argue with a guy who had the stones to jump from 100,000 feet.

  26. 

    I can’t imagine any sick person navigating the medical system without an advocate. The patients job is to get better, not fight for their rights to be a person, not a statistic.

  27. 

    I think the universe is definitely speaking to you. If only there were many more people like you in healthcare. I’m level 2 Reiki and am getting ready to become a volunteer at the local cancer center here, to give Reiki to both patients and their families. I am excited just to know there’s a Reiki program at this hospital–a source for healing and positive change. Something that’s sorely lacking in healthcare today.

    • 

      I love hearing about hospitals that support and encourage the use of Reiki. And so cool that you’re a Level 2 Reiki Practitioner! It’s amazing how it works, isn’t it? The world needs more people like you in healthcare too, on a volunteer basis or professional basis, it all matters.

  28. 

    MW, sorry I’m just reading this now but I’ve been gone as I’m sure I’ve made exhaustively clear :)

    this is great and patient advocacy is a calling. I have been through the illness and death of both my parents and the main piece of advice I have for anyone dealing with doctors is don’t let anyone see a doctor alone. You must always have another set of ears and in some cases, an advocate.

    When my mom was sick, my sister would talk about “going Shirley MacLaine” on somebody’s ass when she got frustrated. You saw Terms of Endearment??

    Bravo dear!

    • 

      Thanks, Maggie—and welcome back! :D

      Since I posted this I’ve been doing research on advocacy and setting up a practice, all the boring practical stuff and whatnot. I agree–nobody should have to navigate the healthcare system alone. And sadly, for so many people, there’s nobody to help them. No family members, no friends willing to lend a hand, etc. So yeah, I’ll go all Shirley MacLaine on their behalf.

  29. 

    Dear Madame,
    Bottom Line:
    The world needs MORE OF YOU.
    Plain and simple.
    I loved this post. I love that you are getting the message.
    People like you and Margarita are the future of our healthcare system.
    I rake over my children as much as I can when they are sleeping. And drop in words that are good for them. Like spirit vitamins or something.
    Please keep going, and spreading goodness to people.
    Smile down on yourself Madame.
    You are amazing.!!!!!!
    Love, Lis
    xoxooxo

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