My Recent Visit to an MD
I know it’s shocking, but I actually went to a western medical doctor. I haven’t seen an MD in about 25 years. I did see a naturopath and acupuncturists in the interim, but not for a good long while now. Since the government keeps trying to mess with health insurance, I figured while I still have it, I ought to go and get some blood work and a check up. Mind you, I know I’m healthy, because I’ve been monitoring my health every single day for the last 20 years with Chinese diagnostics (mainly tongue and pulse diagnosis), so I know exactly what’s going on in my body.
I live Chinese medicine. I adjust the herbs I take based on my tongue and pulse diagnosis. I follow the eating guidelines of Chinese nutrition. I exercise and practice Qigong regularly. I really do live this stuff on a daily basis. So, I thought, what the heck, let me go get some western diagnostics to see if they match up with how I feel (which is great, by the way).
Pros of my MD visit
The doctor was great. I liked her, and she was totally respectful that I’m a healthcare practitioner in a different system of medicine. She’s willing to work within my boundaries of wanting to do natural medicine first, and that some tests and treatments are unacceptable in my world. She spent 30 -40 minutes with me, which is actually more than I expected, so I was pleased about that, and she actually listened to me.
I expected because I’m over 50 and haven’t seen an MD in so long, they’d rub their hands in glee and order every test under the sun. Fortunately, the doctor said she doesn’t do that, but they look more at risk assessment. That’s cool. That makes sense.
I did tell her I’m healthy and feel great, I just have a tendency to stress and overwork, which is totally self-inflicted.
They weighed me, took blood pressure, looked in ears and mouth. She also did a gyn and breast exam, because I asked.
Cons of my MD visit
The doctor said she routinely does skin exams, but only looked at my back, because I can’t see back there and I asked her to look. What about the rest of my body? There’s a lot more skin on me than my back.
She also ordered a stool test, but never asked a single question about my appetite, digestion, bowel movements, or anything related to GI function, or if I had any problems or concerns. What the heck!?! What kind of risk assessment is that? It doesn’t count unless it shows up on a stool test or blood test?
She did seem particularly interested in how much caffeine I drink per day. I only drink drink pesticide-free tea, which has a lot of health benefits. I never drink coffee, because I hate the taste and smell of it. And I never drink soda. Both the nurse and doctor asked about the caffeine, which was kind of weird. I certainly wasn’t hyper or anything. They never asked one question about diet, but asked twice about caffeine. Huh!?!
The intake paperwork seemed interested in screening for sexually transmitted diseases, and the doctor ordered an HPV test (a sexually transmitted disease). But nobody ever asked if I had any unusual symptoms, was sexually active, or any other kind of risk assessment questions. Huh?
I was not asked about my sleep, energy level, urination, or really much else. I don’t know how much was left out because I’m a healthcare practitioner and they expected me to report anything I thought they needed to know, or if this is standard practice. On talking to a few others, I fear it’s standard western medical practice.
I did tell them I’m healthy, and again, I don’t know how much was out of respect for a colleague. But really? I have patients tell me all the time when I ask questions that something is “normal”, because it’s usual for them, but it’s actually not normal, and a problem. I’m kind of horrified by how much wasn’t asked when there was plenty of time. I can find out a lot of information about someone’s health in 30-40 minutes. And maybe I’m just jaded because I take so much time with my patients and ask so many questions, especially on the first visit.
I guess they rely on blood work and stool tests rather than actually talking to people. This is part of why western medicine sucks at prevention. If a problem shows up on a blood test or stool test, there’s already a problem, that maybe could have been prevented by asking some questions and having a discussion about healthy lifestyle choices.
I really did like the doctor, and I’m not saying anything negative about her. It’s just a function of how much western medicine has come to rely on machines. I really saw it in a glaring way, since in the last 25 years since I’ve seen an MD, they’ve created so many more diagnostic tests and machines. It’s kind of horrifying to me. Whereas I don’t need any machines to diagnose, intelligent doctors are being trained not to ask questions and think, but to be technicians dependent on machines and protocols to tell them what to do. (I am soooo glad I didn’t go to western medical school. I like thinking and the challenge of figuring out how to treat a difficult case.)
Results of my MD visit
How do you think my test results turned out – healthy, or not????
Alright, I’ve kept you waiting long enough. I was stressed out of my mind about going to the clutches of western medicine (I hate going to doctors – they practically have to sedate me at the dentist to get me to set foot in the place). Even so, my blood pressure was 124/68. Textbook normal is 120/80. My blood pressure was perfect. Hee hee hee. And 124 is high for me, but, as I said, I was really stressed about being there.
All tests and blood work are normal, except for my cholesterol, which was a bit high, but I told them it would be high. My cholesterol was high 20-some years ago when they first tested it. In some people, it’s just genetically high, and not a problem. I’m one of them. And, I don’t eat anything that could make it be high, so in my case it’s not a problem. And get this, my HDL, the so-called “good” cholesterol was way over on the positive side of the “desirable” range. (That’s really good.) And, my score for risk of heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years came out at 2.3%. I’ll take that any day.
The doctor recommended “continued attention to food choices, physical activity, weight management”. I guess this is the canned response for “keep doing what you’re doing”. This is quite shocking to me, because she never asked anything about what I eat, what I do for exercise, and my weight is within normal range for my height. There is nothing to change in my diet (according to the western guidelines for high cholesterol), because I already do it as part of my normal diet. I exercise about 5 days per week, and I’ve never exercised this consistently in my entire life. Lol.
I’ll take Chinese medicine any day over western medicine for my primary care. Chinese medicine works! I’m living proof.
Leave a comment and let me know if this fits your experience with western vs. Chinese medicine.