Physicians and other health care professionals are a necessary and tremendously valuable resource. The average Jane isn’t educated to distinguish pink eye from allergies or skin cancer from a hairy mole. We need those people. However, we also need to be our own advocates and do a bit of research about worrisome conditions. Those attending to our care are not infallible or omniscient. They are limited to treat and diagnose based upon A. The info we give them, B. What they observe and C. Their personal experience and training.
My mother-in-law had skin cancer removed from the back of her leg many years ago. There was a graft successfully in place for a long time but in the past couple years it’s been opening up. She had a surgical repair a year ago but it never quite healed, despite expert wound care. The plastic surgeon told her they needed to repeat the surgery. When my MIL asked about the value of hyperbaric chamber treatments he was very dismissive but said she could give it a try if she wanted to. She researched, scheduled and underwent a series of treatments. Everyone agreed that it might expedite healing in the upcoming procedure. The day of surgery came and when the doc saw her (before the IV was in place!), he announced that the wound was completely healed and there was no need for surgery. He was surprised and pleased, admitting doctors don’t always know best.
My husband had intensely sharp pains in his leg and after a couple days went to a physical therapist. He was evaluated and sent on to an MD. The doctor examined his leg, poking and prodding. He asked good questions to rule out serious conditions and decided that a round of prednisone would be the best place to start. He wanted to decrease inflammation then recheck. None too excited about this medication, my husband stopped by a chiropractor’s office. He was given an evaluation and treatment. The pain has not returned and steroids were not involved in his recovery.
I had numbness in my leg and after trying a few things the doc sent me to physical therapy but also wanted me to undergo a painful nerve study. The therapist respectfully disagreed, asking me to give his treatment time before taking that next step. It’s been weeks but the numbness is slowly receding and I’m getting correction for a back problem I had just learned to live with.
When my sister-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer, she researched every option and settled on a plan that incorporated traditional and natural treatments, not blindly following the advice of one person but insisting they work together for the best of both worlds. She remains cancer-free.
These are just a few personal examples of why we shouldn’t simply follow orders like sheep. While I know that researching conditions on the internet can “give us just enough info to make us dangerous” I also know that I’d rather know the right questions to ask. When painful, expensive or risky treatment is prescribed, a second opinion is always wise. This is your body. Health and contentment go hand-in-hand. You own it to yourself and God expects good stewardship. Qualified health care professionals appreciate it too.
Has there been a time you’ve not followed a doctor’s advice? (This isn’t doctor bashing time, this is self-responsibility and awareness stories…love ya docs!) Comment below.