“Nothing hinders a cure so much as frequent changes of treatment” — Seneca
I’m a doctor, but my impatience makes me a dreadful patient. This is mostly because I’m impatient in general—you know, when I decide it’s time for a haircut, I don’t want to wait to make an appointment, I want one NOW (so I’ll settle for lower quality to satisfy my whim). Oh, I can’t think of too many other examples… I guess the same is true when I decide I have time for an oil change, or I need my neck adjusted (by a chiropractor I mean. Although sometimes I’ll settle for a nearby and willing friend, if I promise to talk her through it). I’m not bad at waiting in lines because that can’t be helped, and I’ve learned coping mechanisms for it (namely playing on Pinterest on my phone), but if I have any power over the situation, you can bet I’m going to do all I can to speed things along.
Now, when I give a patient a treatment plan, I expect him to follow it faithfully until the next time I see him, exactly the way I’ve written it, and not to add anything else to it without telling me he’s done so, nor to take anything away without telling me he’s done so and why. None of this, “it didn’t work the first time I took it, so I decided it was worthless and quit.”
But do I exhibit the same level of commitment? Of course not. Especially with homeopathy, which is one of my favorite treatments because you can’t hurt yourself with it, and if you happen to pick the right remedy it can work quite fast… in some cases before the stuff melts in your mouth. But because I’ve experienced that, I’m now a spoiled homeopathy brat. I take one remedy and if it doesn’t work immediately, or within ten minutes, I try another one. If I get better, which one did it? Who knows… or maybe one of them I passed up a long time ago was right, but it would’ve taken up to 48 hours with frequent repetition to effect a cure. Who has time to wait that long?
I mention this because a) the quote above convicted me of it (I’m reading Seneca’s “Letters from a Stoic” right now), and b) because I got really sick this weekend for the first time I think since med school… I’m generally super healthy, but this one had me curled up in a fetal position on Sunday, and I’ve battled the remnants ever since. At this point I feel fine, but I have literally no voice at all—I can only whisper. (Aphonia is the technical term, if you were wondering.) Yesterday as my voice was on its way out, a partially deaf patient told me, “You’re going to need to speak up,” and I was like, “Sorry, afraid I can’t…” So I’m guessing whisper-only appointments for the rest of the week are probably out.
Hence my frenetic changes of treatment. But, I suppose, if I have to cancel patients tomorrow, as long as I’m *feeling* fine, I can get a lot of writing done… #silverlining