A FICTIONAL LETTER FROM A FICTIONAL PATIENT AND MY FICTIONAL RESPONSE: DOES IT RESONATE WITH YOU?

letter400Dear Dr. Colter,

After you performed an exam on me and determined I needed multiple lifestyle changes to progress toward better health, I decided to visit my primary physician. You scared me and I needed reassurance that you were WRONG!

My primary physician reviewed my history and asked me what the problem was? I told him I didn’t think I had one until I went to visit Dr. Colter at his office. My primary physician assured me my blood pressure was under control, my cholesterol numbers looked good, my blood sugar was within reasonable limits, my anxiety issues had lessened and my irritable bowel condition was “doing great.” He agreed with me that I was in “perfect health.” All I needed to do was continue with the prescribed medications for these conditions and I would be fine. He also suggested I cancel my next scheduled appointment with you because it wasn’t necessary.

Apparently, you were WRONG!

Sincerely,

Fictional Patient

RESPONSE:

Dear Fictional Patient,

Getting a second opinion regarding one’s health is commonly a good idea. Apparently your primary doctor and I have different definitions of “PERFECT” health (or even) “GOOD” health.”

I define GOOD health as a state of health where the body is typically capable of FUNCTIONING properly without requiring unnecessary synthetic chemicals to override normal physiology. In some cases I recognize inherent deficiencies may require external pharmaceutical intervention, but your situation is not based on this. You have chosen to avoid my recommendations to implement essential lifestyle choices that would likely assist restoring normal GOOD health and function without requiring potentially harmful pharmaceuticals.

I understand it is easier to swallow a pill than follow an ACTIVE regimen that supports the body’s needs. The pill, however, is not capable of replacing active participation. You may remember we discussed this during your exam.

It is natural to want to point a finger at me and tell me another professional is right because you LIKE their opinions better. This, however, doesn’t make my findings and recommendations wrong. In this case, it means your primary physician isn’t willing or capable of addressing the root CAUSES of your health problems. Rather than providing treatments to RESTORE good health, it appears your doctor chooses treatments designed to keep you in a chronic controlled state of disease

FOREVER.

It is certainly your right to remain chronically sick using pharmaceuticals exclusively as your doctor recommends. If you don’t mind living with these health problems that typically worsen over time, it is not my place to convince you otherwise.

I do have one question for you, however. When your health is compromised to the point that prescriptions will no longer compensate for your body’s inability to sustain minimal standards of living, what do you think your primary physician will tell you? Do you think he or she will accept blame and responsibility for guiding you down the exclusive prescription path? Will they think to themselves (out of fear of telling you)

“if you had only done your part in maintaining health (rather than simply swallowing a pill) you wouldn’t be in this “no good option” predicament.”

You may remember I outlined your part in maintaining health during our office visit. You chose instead, to accept your primary physician’s recommendation because you liked the “ease” of their option and the praise of your “GOOD” health. The simplicity in swallowing multiple pills may be blinding you to the fact that your high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, anxiety disorder and gastrointestinal distress will remain an UNRESOLVED PROBLEM requiring LIFETIME renewable drugs that will either (eventually) fail to create normal lab values and/or cause secondary complications requiring even more drugs.

Fortunately, there is good news. Your compromised health can still be treated conservatively at this time using treatment options designed to RESTORE your good health. If this option sounds appealing, please let me know. I value you as a patient, but choose to spend my time and energy with those willing to do their part in achieving the best outcomes.

Yours in good health,

Dr. Colter

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23 comments

  1. I have to brag and say I am close to the perfect patient. I don’t complain about trivial problems and I do exactly what my doctors tells me. But there are times I wish I had looked for a second opinion. Such as: I complained about severe burning sensation in my thigh muscles when I even took a short walk. They gave me a sonogram and said I had poor circulation, I needed a stent in my right leg. Well, this ‘perfect’ patient went through that God-awful procedure and it has never helped. So now I’m hesitant in repeating my complaint to anyone else – because I am NOT going through that procedure for the other leg too!!
    So, sometimes it works both ways when they say they can return us to GOOD health.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I define the “perfect” patient a little differently. The perfect patient gets INVOLVED in treatment decisions. They research options and discuss them with multiple providers to gain various professional perspectives. The combination of research and professional perspectives provides valuable information for the patient to make better informed decisions. With multiple options available (unless acute danger exists) I believe starting as conservatively as possible with approaches shown to provide quality results. You can always get more aggressive. You can’t, however, undo aggressive care (as you have learned.)

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I am smiling because I can just picture you sitting at your desk writing this 🙂 Very true indeed of so many 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Over my years in practice, I had many of these “fictional” patients. Some wanted to “fight” with me (verbally) regarding their “true” health status. I simply explained my solutions:
      1. The benefit rarely provided me with financial gains.
      2. The benefit to the patient was correction of ROOT CAUSES.
      If these two points didn’t provide enough credibility, they were welcome to self medicate as long as they desired.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Lol! Funny! (but not really because it’s too close to the truth). I’m very happy just now as two of my daughters have recently converted to a far better health regime. I wish I could say it was because of all the times I explained it to them, but it’s not. Somehow, unrelated to me, the penny finally dropped. Keep up the good work! They are now enjoying the energy surge, weight loss and generally better health I’ve been talking about for years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Encourage their positive efforts. People all too frequently slide back into destructive patterns when emotional stress resurfaces.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. For sure I will, though it does seem it may well be a life change as it’s been a few months for one and a few weeks for the other and they are both getting more and more sold on it as something good in their lives rather than a means to an end (both their hubbies are doing it to now).
        After you eat real food and excercise regularly you miss it if you stop. The junkie food tastes awful and your body wants to move and stretch.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Stopping usually (initially) elicits guilt…it doesn’t take much, however, to fall back into old destructive patterns if one isn’t careful. Hopefully, the benefits in your daughter’s cases outweigh sacrifices.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Thankfully in the youngers case at least it’s no longer a sacrifice. She much prefers her semi vegan health diet and enjoys her daily excersice. I’ve found the same, you couldn’t pay me to eat a Mc Donalds burger or candy bar etc. They taste awful when one has been eating “real” food. As for exercise, being older my body starts to stiffen and ache if I don’t keep it up. It’s like my body hungers for it.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Lol….I would love to be a fly on the wall and watch you writing this as if it was a real patient. But on the serious point if more people would understand this we would be in much better shape. Thank you for the laugh and serious message too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This “fictional” patient existed MANY times throughout my career. My “response” letter was commonly how I addressed the situation. I always let the patient DICTATE whether they wanted SOLUTIONS or BAND-AIDES. Each person has the right to decide for themselves.
      Thanks for reading and commenting. Always appreciated!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Clever message. If you’re taking medication for an ailment you are not in perfect health. Fresh way to deliver the message

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My attempt at wit. Hopefully, more people begin to think about the concept you so elegantly stated!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I may be one of your perfect patients then; I had a swollen eye since February and took it to three different opthamologists until I felt someone knew what they were talking about, ran tests which convinced me, and got me responsible to do my own small part. The blood test for example showed moderate anemia, drop in HGB and some. I agreed I had to hydrate more and eat more vegetables and iron source stuffs when I broke my fast and before I started each day. I also realized it was unsafe to go all out vegan just yet especially as I hadn’t yet researched enough and found alternative sources for some necessary vits and mins found in animal source proteins. Put now on stronger antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory for 9 days put together, am on day 3 and there has been a remarkable change. Turns out the left sinus was mildly blocked and this caused the inflammation. I had already been band-aided by the first two with over 9 different eye drops, creams and co.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Persistence is often required in health care. If I was unsatisfied with patient results, I was the FIRST to recommend to my patients a “second set of eyes” to evaluate their condition. My patients appreciated that I placed THEIR health in front of my EGO and WALLET. Doctors are just as human as anyone else and can sometimes need additional advice and direction. Admitting this (in my opinion) adds credibility and transparency to the doctors true intentions.

      Like

      1. Doc, I just realized maybe because I intern at a hospital, that there are few like you who would refer a patient to another. The shrink I work with does that, and the third opth I saw did that. But helas since one of the boys pediatricians, no other doctor I can recall ever recommended myself or anyone in my care to another. I went out of dissatisfaction. I ponder if it more of competition than collaboration in health care, more of looking out for profit by keeping the patient sick and revolving, than helping them with their health really

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The world of doctor is still a BUSINESS. Referring patients is viewed as a lost income. A good doctor creates patient confidence. This patient will return for future needs because they TRUST and VALUE the INTEGRITY and QUALITY of the doctor. A doctor lacking these traits and filled with potential insecurity will fear the loss of a patient if referred to another physician.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh yes, it is always easier to swallow a pill, less energy used, health issue sorted (joke). But, for some reason that ‘health issue’ never goes away, that band aid just does not stick, and for some reason light bulb moments never occur…..maybe…only maybe when it is too late….
    Great letter !!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. …and this is why I continue to share the message… it is for those who are no longer satisfied with their “solutions” that don’t work!

      Like

  8. Very well done Jonathan. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Tricia.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. […] greatly missed your well-written stories, delicious recipes, wise advise, compassionate sharing, healthy living, awesome movie reviews, and heart-warming faith […]

    Like

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