Sunday, March 16, 2014

Who knows best?

I'm in the middle of a modern medical battle with my eye doctor. Actually battle is way too strong a word. He is a very nice person who wants to do right by me, he sincerely does. He has been in practice for a long time in an office downtown where he sees patients who are chronically sleep deprived, stressed out, poorly fed. His patients sit for many hours a day in front of their computers, squinting at numbers and letters under fluorescent lights, enclosed in hermetically sealed cubicles, or in communal work spaces where they must fight distractions in order to stay focused. These people drive around a lot, they sit in front of their TVs at night. The way they use their eyes is radically different than the way I use mine.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail - hence he is trying to change my prescription as he would for someone who suffers from eye strain. Even though I've spoken and written at length (and quite eloquently, may I say) about the differences between me and the people he usually sees, even though I have been vociferous about explaining that the glasses I have now are EXCELLENT, that I see perfectly through them at a distance, while reading, and when I'm on my computer, even so, he can't help but think my prescription can be improved. He even agreed with me that my prescription does not need improvement, except - well - he wants to improve it.

The glasses I wear now are scratched up (because my old eye doctor didn't automatically include scratch resistant coating for the lenses) and the frames are crusty. I've said to this new doctor, verbally and in writing, many more times than once, that I don't need a new prescription, what I need are new lenses and new frames. But he can't hear that. He can not take it in.

The first round with the new prescription was a disaster. I couldn't read, and through the new lenses, when I looked at a photo across the room, my eyes crossed. He admitted he had overcorrected and that the measurements for the progressives were off. He asked me to come back into the office to have measurements retaken. He promised to redo the lenses with something more akin to the old prescription, but he still wants to make changes.

My confidence in the new glasses is not sky high since I had to show his assistant that the machine she was using when taking measurements was upside down. But I'm open to what happens next. I can still see perfectly with my old glasses, except for the scratches. If it takes awhile and several attempts before the new glasses work, I'm ok with that. I'm curious to see what happens next.

It's hard to stand up to modern medicine. It's a challenge to be assertive, even for me, and I'm kind of an expert in that endeavor. Modern medicine depends on tests and numbers and charts. Even though according to the measurements, the new prescription was scientifically better, I couldn't see through the new lenses. My eyes and my vision are not something that can be totally accounted for by medical charts and standards. I could be insulted that this doc is unwilling to believe me, except I know it happens all the time. It's not personal.

One problem is that within the realm of modern medicine, we are encouraged not to pay attention to sensations of any kind. We are told to accept what the doctors say and to follow their lead, because they know best. I have clients who feel like hell, but since all their test numbers are correct, the doctors tell them they are healthy. It is bizarre.

In many cases, doing exactly as the doc says, no matter how you feel, is the best course of action. I'm talking about people who swallow fistfuls of sensation killers such as ibuprofen, and try with all their might to ignore the needs of their miracle bodies - basic needs like sleep and good food, fresh air and relaxation, for instance. For people like that, modern medicine is important.

But for people like me who pay attention to every symptom and shift in the realm of the body/mind, modern medicine can be - at best - perplexing and at worst, utterly frustrating.

Who knows best what is going on in your body/mind? Have you ever thought about it? Well?


Janelle said...

i'm terrified of modern medicine....and doctors and hospitals....i avoid them. . inshallah. much love reya....x j

Reya Mellicker said...

Love "seeing" you here!

There are great reasons to seek modern medicine. If I broke an arm, I would not wait for it to heal or make an appointment with the acupuncturist (for instance). When I had pneumonia I thanked the gods for antibiotics.

It isn't my primary type of health care. said...

I hear you. Trying to communicate with doctors is often like talking to a rock. But based on your story, it sounds like you need a new provider. My eyes are changing with age, and every time my progressives get changed to a new prescription, it's like a miracle.
Thanks for posting. I always enjoy them.

Reya Mellicker said...

Mocking birds - this guy IS the new provider!