Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Patience And Prudence

When I first wrote about pursuing acupuncture treatments for my bad back I promised a follow up. Here we go. I've gone full circle and am returning to my original physical therapist for a new evaluation.

The acupuncture has helped. It relieved pain that had become almost unbearable and a balance problem. The problem is we don't have a definitive cause of the problem and the discomfort lingers. After a lengthy evaluation, I opted out of some of the suggestions. I let the Doctor know going in I wasn't into a complete lifestyle change - I wanted help with the back problem. The assessment that I should forego coffee and milk and add pastas and rice to my diet went against the grain of the South Beach premise that I follow and with which I am comfortable. Portion suggestions wouldn't have satisfied my back yard birds and drinking half my weight in ounces of water is only practical if I'm going nowhere for the day.

Tossing my supplements in favor of those sold by the practice also went against the grain. We don't throw anything out unless it's spoiled or truly likely to kill us. The suggestion that my husband finish out our Costco vitamins if that was how we felt didn't sit well. If they weren't good for me why were they alright for him?

I understand the naturalist approach and I agree with the aspect of healing versus hiding and whole body rather than parts but foot in mouth isn't exactly the vision I have. Whether the problem stems from adrenal fatigue, as was the suggestion, or an actual injury is still in question. Some research leads one to ask which causes which. Again. Undetermined. Diagnosis by questionnaire may point direction but I don't believe it is totally definitive either.

After ten treatments we decided to stop to see what exactly has been accomplished. I talked with my physical therapist and described what I had been doing, what had been helped and what hadn't. My M.D. has agreed for a new evaluation and a tweaked course of treatment.

I want the problem solved, not merely relieved. What it all boils down to is that everyone is different. No one else has the exact problem from the exact cause that I do. No one else is my size, weight, age, genetic make up or anything else. So no one set of rules apply.

Acupuncture, without all the bells and whistles, has helped. I don't believe my dietary habits were so bad they needed the severe changes suggested; nor the increase in supplements at a cool $100 per month.

The physical therapy has helped. I was and continue to be faithful to the program. I wanted something faster. Will I get it?

Who knows. I'll keep trying. The best advice I can offer is as old as the hills. Manage your own case; listen, read and question. If your health care practitioners aren't willing to work with you find new ones.

No easy task for we "old" folks. Just when we need it most the government does it's best to deprive us of it. The medical community seems to use us as pawns in their own battle with the government and we are the ones who pay the price. But as long as battles can be fought I'll fight them in hopes that the war will be won.

Just keep in mind the old adage that Doctors "practice" because it's an inexact science. And we are "patients" because it requires so much to deal with the "practice"!


Word Tosser said...

One has to get over the "Doctor God" feeling and be active in their own care. Just because they said it, doesn't make it true.. Yes, you should listen to the Dr. and hopefully you will get well, but don't just take it like it is gospel. If it doesn't sound right.. ask questions. And get answers you understand. After all the doctor has lots of patients, but you only have one you.

Betty said...

I agree with Word Tosser. I also think that there are a lot of doctors out there who just don't have any interest in older patients. So, you have to be careful and keep trying until you find one who seems sympathetic to the elder patients' aches and pains.