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From My Heart

Sat, 31 Oct 2009 18:49:00
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To Whom It May Concern:

Hello, it’s me again. Just one person talking to another from the heart. I want to speak to you about taking responsibility for your health. Doctors take an oath to do everything within their power to save lives. A stranger has taken an oath to save my life. Surely, I should be just as willing to do the same for myself. Fortunately, my doctor has not remained a stranger, like so many do. He cares about my health as much as I do. He is not my first doctor, though. I went through a few, thinking they weren’t doing enough to ensure I was healthy.  In reality, they cared about my health as much as I did – I was the one not showing much concern for my health. 

When they would give me recommendations, prescriptions, treatments, etc., I didn’t pay much attention. I thought just going to the doctor would make me better. At one time, I was going through a particular health problem, and the doctor told me what I had to do to improve my situation. Sometimes, just the “knowing” makes you feel like you’re going to be OK. But that’s not enough. It’s the ”doing” that makes the difference. Everyone knows that smoking, drinking to excess, eating unhealthy foods, eating to excess, not getting enough rest, and so on, is bad for your health. But just “knowing” that information doesn’t mean you’re going to get healthier. We have to stop those behaviors we know are damaging our one and only body.

Like I said, I knew what to do, but I only followed those guidelines when it suited me. I kept returning to the doctor with the same health problem, and it was clear that he was getting frustrated. Who could blame him? I was expecting him to magically do something to make me better instead of me taking the responsibility for making myself better.

I grew up in a family and a community that didn’t take their health seriously. Or maybe they just didn’t like going to the doctor. I thought that health was the last thing they thought about. I have come to realize, though, that sometimes people are uncomfortable communicating with doctors. They fear being judged, or being made to feel ignorant, because the doctor speaks in unfamiliar terms. There is more than one doctor in the world. Don’t stop looking until you find one with whom you can manage your health as a team. People also fear the unknown. The unknown will be known sooner or later, and when it comes to your health, the sooner you find out, the better off you are. If you wait until later, you may have waited far too long.

Doctors are accountable for diagnosing, prescribing, performing procedures, and such. Ultimately, though, I am accountable for my own health. I must give complete and accurate information to him so he can make a correct diagnosis and prescribe the appropriate medicines or treatments. And don’t worry about insulting a doctor by getting a second opinion. It’s your health, your body, your life. If I want a doctor to have a passion for my well being, I must first have that passion.

Do I listen to my doctor 100% of the time? No; truthfully I probably listen 90% of the time due to my own emotions and desires. I am only human after all. But if I wish to remain so, I will do everything in my power to be obedient to my body. These days I consult with three different doctors in different fields of medicine. I respect them all very much. They listen and respond to my concerns, they encourage me to ask lots of questions, and they answer them to the best of their ability using language I can actually understand. They have even drawn diagrams for me to ensure I understood and felt more comfortable. It is my hope that everyone will find and experience this type of doctor-patient relationship. 

These are just my experiences. If I have reached the heart of just one person, I will feel I have been of some worth today. I am not judging anyone, so please do not judge me.

Your Humble Servant
 
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