Friday, May 13, 2011


Yesterday I saw my chiropractor and asked if she could recommend a new PCP. She immediately gave me a list of names of doctors her own patients love. One of the people she recommended very highly is a Nurse Practitioner who works with an MD who's also trained in medical acupuncture. I'd already heard good things about him and had been considering checking him out -- here's his bio, which I find both honest and compelling (I especially like his definition of illness as "the human experience of disease," which is a precise and helpful distinction) -- so that was an easy sell, especially since he's on my insurance! I've had good results from acupuncture for my sinusitis, although I'm skeptical about a lot of "energy work," especially Reiki.

When I got home yesterday I called and got an appointment with the NP for 10:30 this morning. How convenient is that? As a plus, she's considerably closer to my house than my old PCP (although the office park where she's located is an absolute maze, and I kept getting lost).

I think she's great: warm, personable, empathetic, a great listener. She looked at me instead of at her computer, although like everyone else these days, the practice uses electronic medical records. She had, for a wonder, heard of Narrative Medicine! She shares my skepticism about the energy stuff and says she's had a hard time wrapping her head around acupuncture, but she keeps seeing patients respond really well to it, so that's convinced her. She adores the doctor. When I said, "I've decided that allopathic medicine is great for acute illness and life-threatening stuff like cancer and heart disease, but holistic medicine is better at treating chronic problems," she nodded vigorously and said, "That's so well put. I'm going to use that."

She recommended a new orthopedist, a knee specialist who's doing her own knee replacement next week. (Ouch!)

She talked about the fact that normal lab values -- while they can reassure you that you don't have cancer or whatever -- aren't a reason to dismiss complaints that people aren't feeling well. (My old doc's response tends to be, "You're fine. Your bloodwork's splendid.") She said, "You don't need more lab work or pharmaceuticals. You need to be treated as a whole person. We need to monitor your depression to make sure it doesn't become a problem, and we need to help you work through your grief." She asked if I was currently in therapy; I said I've stopped getting good results from talk therapy, although I process a lot through the blog, and that led us into a discussion of writing and healing. She hadn't known about James Pennebaker's research -- here's his writing and health homepage -- and was fascinated.

So her recommendation is that I see the doctor for a consultation; I have an appointment with him for June 9. When I left, she both shook my hand and hugged me. My old doctor's fallen into a pattern of walking away without a backward glance, not even responding to "thank you" or "good bye."

So I'm feeling vastly relieved and cautiously optimistic. A small voice in my head is saying, "You know these folks will burn out in five years, just like everybody else you've seen," but I'm trying to ignore it. And even if it's true, five years is better than nothing. So thank you to all of you who urged me not to settle for a doctor with whom I'd become uncomfortable!

In other news, today's my last fiddle lesson with Charlene. Her husband has a job in Madison, Wisconsin, which of course is one of the coolest places on earth, and has a much better music scene than Reno does. They're moving later this month.

I'm hoping, at some point today, to finish the extraordinarily rough first draft of Mending the Moon, and then to start revising like a maniac. I'd love to have it done by Mythcon, although that may be overly optimistic.


  1. Doctors are such a difficulty, especially when a person is dealing with multiple health problems and when those problems exacerbate each other. I have had some interesting times with doctors in the last few years, and the search for someone who will 1) listen and 2) provide sensible advice is tiring and tiresome. I hope this works out for you in some ways, if not all of them.

  2. Anonymous9:31 AM

    Congratulations, Susan! Your persistence in seeking medical care that works for you is an inspiration to us all.


  3. Anonymous12:25 PM

    ps - forgot to mention that I love the title "Mending the Moon"


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