As a kid, I loved sitting down to untangle chain link necklaces. You know, the kind that you would tug at from one end and it wouldn’t unravel, it would just make the tangle more solid? I revelled in my ability to sit patiently and push on that tangle until I saw a section that I’d be able to move – knowing, that if I moved it, I would find the next and the next and then soon, the necklace would be a smooth line again that would hang just as it should around someone’s neck.
It hit me today that that is also what I love doing with my patients. I love untangling your health story.
When we work together, I start a hunt. I ask you loads of questions, I poke at the tangled area to see what will give way first, which knot can be undone that will lead to the rest of the knots being easier to undo. I sit patiently, listen closely, and jump in when I know that there’s a little section that just opened up that we can get into.
I don’t even mind getting stuck, because you know as well as I that in life, as in chain link necklaces, there is usually more than one source of a problem. If your symptoms flare up or we hit a plateau – we start over. I sit. You talk. I listen. I wait. Then – oh! There it is again! That little place that if I just back that conversation up a litttttle bit, you can slide the end of the chain link through this loop and the whole next knot will be gone!
This is as fun for me as an adult as untangling those necklaces were to me as a kid.
I find that the things I hear most in my office are:
“Thank you for listening to me”
“Thank you for validating that, my doctor keeps telling me I’m fine”
“It’s so nice to be able to talk freely about this, I think people think I’m faking it”
And my personal favorite:
“OMG, really? Chinese medicine makes sense out of this? Amazing! I would have never known those few things were connected!”
The western medical system is amazing for so many reasons. I love the science, the research, the never ending searching that goes into it and I respect the education enormously. That being said, western medicine isn’t great at chronic, hard to decipher symptoms that don’t match a specific disease process (or that match a disease process that they aren’t great at treating yet). Inter system diseases often show up as a bunch of ‘small’ problems that bother the shit out of you but don’t make sense to your doctor. This is where western medicine flounders. This is also where Chinese medicine shines.
What is in your health story? What sections need to be untangled? Are you sure that they are untangleable?
Maybe if we looked at it all together, as one big picture. Maybe if we drew a map. Maybe if we took into account your lifestyle, your life circumstances, your emotional history, your beliefs AND your physical health – maybe we’d see something that you hadn’t seen before.
Maybe you’d gain some clarity. Maybe you’d start to feel better.
Do you know where your first big knot is?
Food for thought …