I have been a doctor for over 20 years. I find myself looking back, looking for why I have become so disillusioned with traditional medicine. Why, on a regular basis, I question how much I am really helping people. My journey is not different than most in the medical field. So many of us came to this profession with a curiosity about science, the human body and a compulsion to help make people’s lives better. I have created this life where I am a compulsive fixer and repairer. It seemed like a perfect fit; bring me a broken body, I will find the problem and help you fix it! But the truth is that this rarely happens in such a clean fashion. I was trained in pediatrics and internal medicine and previously practiced primary care in a family medicine type tradition. For the last 14 years, I have been practicing hospital-based medicine where I only treat patients when they are sick and hospitalized. My role is to get them through this ordeal to a point where they are healthy enough to return to the outside world again. I used to get great satisfaction treating things that get better quickly, such as severe urinary tract infections, or pneumonia. A patient getting well enough to go home is often a very satisfying point in our patient/doctor relationship. I have noticed however that though my patient with pneumonia or my colleagues patient with the gallbladder removed, though in our eyes everything was a success, the patient rarely leaves the hospital feeling great or restored. The look on a patient’s face as they leave the hospital is more like “well that really sucked” and relieved it is over.
No wonder doctors are burned out. No wonder patients are just as disillusioned. No one really signed up for this.
Was it a delusion that as physicians are stamping out disease and creating health? Are we not really improving people’s lives? Is our best effort just to return our patients back to their baseline? What if their baseline is nearly survivable. People are frustrated about coming through the medical system. They are in pain and are understandably angry that they often end up surviving yes, but not really feeling great. I don’t think I am speaking in a vacuum. I am certainly not the only one saying this.
So as the consummate fixer, I looked outside the box. I found teachers that made sense to me. I read that cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness and meditation worked. I read that just the act of the doctor talking to his patients made them better. (wow, what a concept). I read about alternative modalities that were equally effective. I read spiritual texts, medical studies, and books about body changes according to people’s emotions. This fascinated me. So there it is. I delved in and learned how to help people by working with their thinking, their minds, their thoughts, and their emotions. So come along with me and I am going to share my knowledge and expertise with you in this blog.
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