You Know Your Pain, You Know Your Body
No one knows your pain better than you do. I make this statement often at my acupuncture practice. After all, no one knows your body more than you. It is yours and only yours.
In my early twenties, I suffered from pelvic pain. The pain at times was excruciating and plagued much of my young adult life. I found myself desperately seeking answers, bouncing from one doctor to the next. Too often felt ignored and pushed aside. Despite that, I was determined to find one healthcare provider who would actually listen.
The Healthcare System As A Business
I can’t say I blame the western medical community entirely. Truthfully, there’s a lot wrong with our healthcare system. Starting with the fact that most MD’s only have fifteen minutes of time to give per patient. How can any human being make a true assessment in that brief amount of time? Factor in the fact that many medical facilities are now chains, that are privately owned cash cow businesses. Yes, those chains that are so easy to get into are businesses, they are not medical practices. Those doctors are worked like dogs, and the patients are treated like they are apart of an assembly line. Let me be frank, our healthcare system is not care, it is business.
Truth, I actually harbor no resentment, I am just being completely honest. During those days, when I needed real medical attention, all I wanted was someone who had an ear and more than fifteen minutes to give to me. I needed someone who wasn’t going to shrug me off as dramatic and write me a prescription. Seeking someone to be thoughtful, who would take a little extra time to properly diagnose my signs and symptoms. Someone to hear me.
No Time to Listen or Think
Eventually, I received proper care. Before that time, I was shrugged off and made to feel crazy by twenty doctors. Yes, TWENTY medical professionals (some “Top Docs”) misdiagnosed me, didn’t listen, called me crazy, and casted me aside. I was told to seek out counseling at least three times, and given more prescriptions than I can count. Since I am now apart of the medical community, I get it. It is really fucking easy to write a script in order to get a patient out of your office, so that you can move onto the next fifteen minutes.
I am certain, many MD’s would argue that this is not the medicine they thought they would practice, but hey medical school is fucking expensive. Again, I get it. We all have bills to pay and I know these MDs aren’t being purposely malicious. However, it doesn’t make any of this complacency ok. At the end of the day, that’s exactly what it is…complacency. Being ok with moving from one patient to the next. Writing a script for an antibiotic and hoping that clears up the problem. Mystery ailments require patience and thought; fifteen minutes just doesn’t allot for much of that.
I felt labeled by the medical community as a young dramatic girl who was “stressed out”. Unheard, hopeless, and trapped in a box full of unanswered questions. I was sick of telling my story to “professionals” who didn’t really hear me, and who certainly didn’t even believe me. Years later, I now understand everything. They were all too proud to admit they didn’t know what was wrong, that they didn’t have the time to properly listen, or think it through.
Acupuncturist’s Hear Everything
As an acupuncturist, I understand the importance of active listening. Acupuncturists carefully listen to your choices words, tone, and the specific way your describe your pain. Yes, even the tone of your voice is important to us! We ask as many questions as we possible can, and carefully listen to how you respond. Your words, and your description are all that matter. We want to hear it all!
Learning from my own experiences, I always carefully listen to every word that comes out of my patient’s mouths. I believe every single word and I never ever judge. It’s sad to say many patients often backtrack or start off by saying “this might sound crazy.” I know this self doubt all too well, and it breaks my heart a little each time I hear it. This alone is why I always assure my patients that I believe them, and encourage them to get into the details. Specifics matter and your acupuncturist wants to hear all of it!
Next time you are made to feel crazy, you feel rushed, unheard, or ignored, never forget that it’s your body. No one knows your body better than you. If you believe something is wrong, keep seeking help until you get the answers you desire. One day, you will find an active listener, and that is the first step in the healing direction.