Waking up on the right side of the bed
One of the biggest difficulties I have had as a nurse practitioner is motivating my patient. How do you motivate someone to make a lifestyle changes when they have grown up thinking that a "doctor can fix anything." The medical system is broken in this day and time. It is time for patients to take back their health. It is time to not depend on a medication to "make you feel better."
When I grew up in the early 90's everyone got antibiotics for ear infections.. Amoxicillin. We all loved that bubble gum flavor. When research facilities where setting this guideline, they found that every child that was diagnosed with an ear infection and received an antibiotic, got better. So a guideline was formed that if a child has an ear ache, give them an antibiotic. Fast forward years later, researchers started questioning this because no one had looked at the population of children who did not receive an antibiotic. Did they get better? In reviewing this information, the researchers noted that only half of the story was told. The kids that did not receive the antibiotics got well, so how could the hypothesis of all ear aches require antibiotics to be resolved stay true? It is the same with other disorders.
Since this is my blog and I can be completely honest with this, I am tired of seeing patients who have poor quality of life and think that this is it for them because they have been told "there is nothing else we can do." I will use this as an example. Jane Doe comes to see me with joint pain. Reports a family history of arthritis and fibromyalgia. Jane Doe reports that she has seen her previous primary care provider, rheumatologist, and neurologist. She has had extensive lab work, imaging, tests, and has been on an assortment of prescription medications with no true improvement of her symptoms. If anything, the start of new medications, have caused more symptoms which have resulted in the addition of more medications to treat the side effects of the other medicines. She has come in to see me to get a pain management referral. Sounds like an easy visit. I could easily smile, put in the referral, she gets what she requested, and she is out of room in less than 15 minutes which means I may get a bathroom break. However, for those that know me, know that I do not give up that soon. I ask, tell me what you have done for your pain. As expected, "I've taken tylenol and motrin and nothing seems to help. I have been on countless medications with no improvement." My next question typically surprises them, then some get angry, most are perplexed. I ask her "have you ever cut gluten or lactose from your diet?" Seems like a legitimate question since both types of food have been linked closely with autoimmune disorders, inflammatory responses, and arthritis. Most patients say no, "I could never do that." But they would rather take a medication that causes 35+ side effects. I know you all have seen those commercials... may cause diarrhea, nausea, constipation, vomiting, fever, dizziness, sexual dysfunction, and blindness ect.. Eliminating dietary items has literally no side effects even close to that, with the exception of sugar which can make you go into withdrawals, causing headaches and decreased energy. Isn't that crazy that something we eat can make us feel like withdrawals from alcohol and drugs!!! Another post for another day... I want patients to take back their lives and stop relying on what a person in a white coat prescribes them. I want them to make educated, well planned decisions to improve not only what the doctor says but what makes them feel mentally, spiritually, physically, and emotionally well. I want them to wake up on the right side of the bed in morning, deciding that today is the day "I take my life back and make healthy decisions for me and my family." My why is my family. What is your why???