Archives For Doctors

Your comments on yesterday’s post are phenomenal. The messages of encouragement and the stories about loved ones who have been battered by the healthcare system have truly inspired me. My eyes got all leaky on more than one occasion while reading them. I kept having to tell my co-workers that I was just having allergies because they were wondering why I was all teary-eyed.

So thank you. Thank you all. Truly and sincerely. I’m not sure I can adequately explain how shivery, powerful and profound an experience this has been.

Also, I received Universal Whack #3 this morning: I usually read the New York Times every day but this week I’ve mostly been just perusing the front page. I didn’t see this article until today. It’s about the struggles faced by patients when talking to their doctors and making themselves heard. The article in itself is compelling, but the 368 comments that follow are even more so.

So okay, I get it now. Time to become a crusader.

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.