Posted in Anonymity, Partnerships

Lend Me Your Ear

Small acts can have huge impact.  As you visit your doctor(s) ever wonder what they’re thinking?  I’ve been going to doctors for over thirty years…I’ve been poked, prodded, medicated, etc.  but what I find is that when my medical provider hears the words beyond what’s coming out of my mouth I achieve huge results.

I heard an interview with Jerome Groopman in March about his new book “How Doctors Think”.  He told the story on the air and it’s in the books introduction about a young woman who for fifteen years battled and illness, had more tests and specialists review her charts to find what was really wrong until she went to the Gastroenterologist, Dr. Falchuk.  He had the stack of charts waiting for her arrival.  When she walked in he put them to the side and made a very simple request…to tell him about her journey from the beginning.  He listened with a “Beginner’s Mind” and the result, after fifteen years of anguish, was a correct diagnosis.

Ever wonder if you’re really being heard by your doctor?  I had an appointment with my doctor two weeks ago and we were discussing my current treatment regimen when without me telling him he was aware of the times that I have a flare and was willing to work with me to minimize the backslide.  He wanted to know what I felt made the biggest difference and then gave me assurance about the length of time I could be on my current treatment without long-term negative impact.

Years ago I had a doctor who was part of a large HMO and after he got to know me he noticed that I was disillusioned with the progress I was making and the frustration I was expressing…things I thought I kept to myself rather successfully (oops).  He called me to say that there may be other things besides conventional medical wisdom that would benefit me, he had reserved a book for me at a bookstore on Ayurvedic Medicine.  He was kind to go beyond his “traditional” medical arena, but he heard something in my voice that prompted him to reach out and believe that I would be receptive to alternative treatment strategies.

 Do you have someone who “hears” you?  Are you only treated for what the doctor can physically see or is there enough of a relationship (professional of course) that the doctor can see beyond the surface?  Sometimes that’s the difference between optimal wellness and the plateau stage.  Are you up to having a voice so that your medical provider sees you and not just your illness?  The choice is yours…but I can tell you from personal experience, trial and error and feedback that saying what I need gets me what I need.  I can’t expect the medical provider to read my mind.


I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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