Quick Fixes and Bandaids

As a regulated health professional I had to make a decision whether or not to continue to work in a clinic where with someone else as ‘boss’ I risk having to bend my standards to those of the business, hence the boss.

Why did this even arise as an issue? The following video summarizes it well…

With patients increasingly coming into clinics in search of ‘bandaids’ and quick fixes instead of actually seeking health, wellness, restoration of function, and with clinics run more and more as for-profit businesses where maximizing number of treatment sessions, prolonging treatment, anything to maximize billing is the standard… well we end up where we are now.

Where are we now? Health professionals (like in this video) who are actually trying to heal patients, to cure patients as opposed to ‘managing’ the signs and symptoms of their patients to essentially addict their patient to ongoing and never ending treatment (hence never ending billing) are a dying breed. Either run out of clinics because they hold themselves to a standard and thus expect others to also hold to a standard, or leave clinic work as a result of being unable to maintain the state of cognitive dissonance required to maintain an ethical practice yet comply with the ‘boss’ or the business wants of more and more billing opportunities. And on the other side, we end up with the patient population coming to believe that there is nothing other than endless cycles of treatment, with actual healing, full restoration of function, where pain free living becomes a fantasy… and the resulting epidemics in chronic lifestyle diseases, prescription and illegal drug addictions, overdoses and deaths, as well as the epidemic of chronic pain, chronic fatigue, et al… all of it a footnote as to how far we have fallen from pursuing health, wellness, hence our potential to live out our lives at the fullest.

I get it… bills have to be paid, as well as staff having to be paid, etc… There is nothing wrong with generating profit, as without profit there is no sense for anyone to ever start a business so profits are necessary; however, when profit becomes the obsession with profit to be achieved at any cost, even at the cost of the long term health of your client, or as in the case of an health care business the long term health of your patients… that is plain and simply wrong. You can try to convince yourself all you want but there ain’t no convincing me.

There is a middle ground, and its called compassionate capitalism… but that requires standards, it requires ethics, a moral compass, it requires us to be able to say ‘no’ to one another, it requires not giving in to the debasement of excellence in pursuit of short term gain; but thats work… and today the belief seems to be that work is for losers… winners don’t work.

Let me share one experience that puts a tidy bow on this…

I had a patient come to me complaining of knee pain. After assessing the joint, surrounding joints, muscular strength, neural health and function, there was nothing that I could find ‘wrong’. Instead of the patient being ecstatic that nothing is wrong, they were upset… they wanted something wrong in order to justify the pain, to justify the need for treatment, to justify who knows what else in their life they needed justified. Instead of a treatment plan including some modalities, and manual therapy, the prescription was for the patient to start exercising… like walking on a daily basis as they did none, as in no exercise whatsoever. It was evident based on the evaluation that the increasing level of a sedentary lifestyle at work and at home was leading now to signs and symptoms that made it appear that something was wrong with their joints. Nothing was wrong… yet, with the joints, the joints were just starting to make noise to the fact that what was wrong was how inactive the joints were becoming, and that any small amount of movement, even standing up from being seated was becoming problematic. But this is not what the patient wanted to hear… they wanted to hear that they have degeneration in their joints, perhaps even a diagnosis of arthritis would have likely tickled them because then it would validated even further whatever they wanted validated. If I suggested an orthopaedic surgeon consult because of the potential for knee joint replacement surgery, then perhaps they may have even done cartwheels in excitement that something that horribly is wrong with their joints that they have to have surgery. That is how upside down, backwards is the thinking of so many patients. And you wonder why there is a crisis in public health care budgets? With patients excited about the degree of disease and hoping for expensive and extensive treatment, then budgets are only going to be more and more challenged in the years to come… that is unless we actually get excited about being healthy, not diseased.

I read a recent article how a physician had to deal with a patient who recovered from cancer. Again you would think that the patient would be ecstatic… nope. Instead they were now depressed that they were healthy and MISSED HAVING CANCER! Well, it wasn’t the cancer they missed, but the support group, the other cancer patients on the hospital unit that they were on while receiving treatment. They missed the smiling friendly faces of the nurses, they missed belonging to a group… a real live group, not a Fb community or other online fake community, but a real live group of human beings interacting honestly and openly with one another on a regular basis. Imagine that… a patient depressed that they are healthy. And we wonder why there is a crisis in our health? Wonder not.

How do we change course? As per the video… we have to allow ourselves to breakdown and realize its not a sign of weakness, its a sign that we are broken… and been broken for a long long time and all the external efforts to stucco, renovate, upgrade and remodel over the brokenness is no longer able to keep all the plates spinning. We need to drop the pretense, the spectacles, the show that everything is alright, that we are holding it altogether, that we have it all figured out, that there is nothing whatsoever wrong. We have to give ourselves permission to not be perfect, to admit that perhaps not all aspects of our life is as magazine cover as we want to pretend they are. And then we need to sit down with the pieces and start to piece together a life that is worth living, a life where we pursue health, and not disease, a life which leads us to jumping out of bed in the morning excited to see what will come with this new day. Not living that way… why not? Hoping instead that you contract a deadly disease today… just so that you can get some real human interaction? There is an alternative way of living…