Health Care Point of View
As a latchkey kid who grew up in the ’80’s, I was the daughter of a mail man dad and insurance agent step-mom. We were a fairly typical middle class family in a split level, suburban home. The two sisters I was raised with and I were pretty healthy and not very accident prone. We took cough syrup when we had a cough, ate plenty of TV dinners and mac and cheese, and were told that eating the fat on a slab of meat was not only good for you, but the best part – although I still can’t eat fat without gagging.
Sugary foods were forbidden, and processed food was abundant. I still remember tearing open my morning packet of instant Quaker oatmeal as I assembled the morning bowl of goo, the orange formica countertops, and the smell of brown sugar.
This was very typical, mainstream, and considered good eating habits – we were, after all, not eating out. Rarely did we drive through McDonalds or go to restaurants, or even drink soda. We also packed our own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, paired with an apple, in our lunch pails (brown bags, of course, when we hit middle school) for our school lunch every day.
Our pantry was full of packaged, prepared food, freezer full of Tyson chicken and Hungry Man dinners, and the medicine cabinet stocked with medicine.
Doctors were king. “Better safe than sorry” was the motto, and insurance coverage was good. Although I didn’t go to the doctor often as a kid, that attitude carried over when was married and had babies in my early 20’s. My attitude was that of a glossy-eyed young mother who looked at doctors as the end-all-be-all of my personal health and the health of my beloved family. If my doctor didn’t have an answer, my assumption was there was no answer.
My husband and I raised our kids to go to the doctor only when very sick or injured. Our pediatrician knew that if we brought our kids in, they really needed to be there. Our oldest son was hospitalized twice with life threatening asthma, and when our daughter complained of back pain as an 8 year old gymnast, it turned out to be a hairline fracture. The kids were farm kids who were exposed to a lot of germs, ran bare footed over gravel, climbed and fell a lot, yet still were relatively healthy.
Because we lived in Northwest Washington State all of our lives, we were also sick every year. I don’t remember a September, November or February when I WASN’t sick with a cold or flu. I remember getting the flu every 3-4 months up until we moved to Texas in 2008. Discovering my Sick Soup recipe in 2006 was a Godsend because the flu would run its course in 2-3 days instead of the 2-3 weeks I spent miserable pre-Sick-Soup.
The older we got, the more we realized that the doctors we love are really just practicing medicine. Thankfully, they have a deep knowledge of medicine and physical systems, but it was getting increasingly disappointing to feel more and more sick the older we got, and seemed to get fewer and fewer concrete answers from our family doctors. There are definitely aspects of health for which I still place a heavy amount of confidence in our doctors, but have become encouraged about things we NEVER really understood or taken a hold of to improve how we look, feel, and live.
Dripping with Healthy Living
I feel as though I personally have contributed to supporting the validity of this quote:
“The Americans will always do the right thing… after they’ve exhausted all the alternatives.” — Winston Churchill
As much as I try to do the opposite, this quote has continued to ring true in my life into my adulthood. I stubbornly gripped my old beliefs about TREATING ailments instead of BUILDING our health from the cells up, even in the face of a lot of great advice from others and evidence in my own life.
My mom, whom I did not see much when I was growing up, was an enthusiastic vegan for much of my childhood. She made her own tofu, soy yogurt, tofu pudding, and gluten burgers, and topped popcorn with nutritional yeast far before it was “cool.” I though she was so weird, and was horrified when she cooked tofu from scratch on weekends when I had friends over to visit – if you have ever walked into a small house with soybeans boiling in huge pots on the stove, you know the odor that envelopes every nook and cranny.
She spent time on a commune in Michigan, lived in the wilderness of NW Washington and in a cabin deep in Alaska. She always loved big, was well read, and was very colorful. All my life she has done her best to show my sister and I examples of healthy eating, encouraged us to have open minds, and not take things so seriously.
Unfortunately, we were raised to think her “weird” ways proved she was not a reliable example of how to live, but instead a “crazy hippie” who could not be trusted. I don’t believe that now, yet I can completely understand why we were taught that. Tip: the most successful people I know are really pretty crazy. I was so excited to hear of the book “First Rate Madness” which describes how crazy leaders are much better leaders. I knew it!
In high school I worked part time at the insurance agency with my step-mom. By the time I was 19 I had my Property/Casualty Agent’s license and worked full time. After auto accidents, my clients often sought the care of chiropractors. My impression of chiropractors became cynical. I often saw many returning visits to chiropractors – sometimes for years. My opinion was that chiropractors just wanted to continue to see customers, the clients saw little relief, yet kept going. Right or wrong, it’s what I thought. I met a couple of the chiropractors, and my point of view was only further validated.
In the late 1990’s my husband, Duane, who shared my stereotyped opinion, went on a mission trip to Mexico with a group of people, one of whom was a chiropractor. That chiropractor treated everyone in the group, as well as the locals. Duane came back with a much better view of the practice.
He came home and enthusiastically shared with me how great he felt from the adjustments he received. I did some research and talked with friends about their experiences with chiropractors. As it turned out – my crazy mom had gone to a chiropractor, Dr. Wells, since I was a small girl. In fact, I had gone with her to some of the appointments when I was little and waited in the reception area. It turned out that others in her family saw Dr. Wells also.
Duane and I made appointments to visit Dr. Wells. His approach to chiropractic was very kinesthetic. He could tell by moving different parts of our body how our spine was in and out of alignment. His treatment was firm, yet sensitive, and he talked us through it. He is one of my favorite people in the whole world. He taught us that our body works as many systems to create a whole. The various systems truly affect one another. One ailment can be a symptom of reactions of one system working to correct itself – what can we do to help it correct itself?
Dr. Wells was adamant that he did NOT want us in his office. He wanted us to help our bodies heal so his adjustments were not necessary. It’s impossible to be perfect, so we still need adjustments – but he gives us amazing, yet easy (and FREE) tools to help our bodies help themselves.
We are all influenced by people and experiences that find us each day. Who and what influences your view of how you feel and how to improve your life? Please comment.