UThingo: our outlook on health
What a journey it has been to get here! I have, more than once, watched myself mentally sign a waiver at the thought of the weight of what I want to do with this place. And yet... I’m still here! What a journey! And it is ongoing. Everything always is. So.
A philosophy is always difficult to summarize but I will try. I have always practised medicine from two main standpoints.
- Health isn’t about the absence of sickness. And
- Give people what they need in order to heal themselves.
Both of these ideals go against my training, to some degree. One thing that is true of doctors, however, is that we never stop or tire of learning. And so I have taken a personal interest in social science and built a philosophy that I hope will address more than just sickness but actually focus on producing and sustaining health and well-being.
Health isn’t about the absence of sickness
Health is a complicated network of experiences. I’m not even going to go into the world health organization definition of health or wellbeing. It changes regularly and satisfies a vague attempt at inclusion. It is definitely more thorough than what you would normally experience at your doctor but it leaves us enough opportunity to insert ourselves and our environments into it—and that’s great. Because that’s what I’ve done.
Health can be considered a feeling, even though doctors often consider it a quantifiable or qualifiable state of being. I’ve, many-a-time, heard doctors say “there’s nothing wrong with you” just because all the investigations could not find an explanation for the person’s complaint. I have a multitude of anecdotes about how medicine has interfered with someone’s health. I will not share them all but I will say this: the practice of medicine is a fraction of what health requires. Health can be found in balance, peace, absence of illness, self-worth, stable and rewarding interactions, fulfilling daily experiences, exercise, safety—this is a vast topic in our environment—and the list could really be endless. Health can look very different for different people. A few fundamentals are most likely to “achieve” health but individualized healthcare planning is really the ultimate accomplishment. That’s what we want.
Give people what they need in order to heal themselves
Sometimes what you need In order to heal is reassurance. Or a chat. An engaging ear. Sometimes the medicine works better because the person that gave it was smiling. It might sound ridiculous but the alternative—ignoring the desperate needs of a person that you are hoping to assist—is not likely to accomplish the goal. There are, however, definite lines to be drawn. It would be unethical for me to give you an antibiotic that you don’t need just because you really want it. Antibiotic custodianship (we will discuss this later) is a matter of life and death for some. But if someone needs their partner present or needs a relinquishing of the reins from their doctor, then this is most likely to speed the healing process up. Where it is possible, people need to be in control of their own health. And not bullied by healthcare. If you come to me with a stubbed toe and I talk more about your being fat—maybe that doesn’t address the real concern. Maybe that doesn’t treat or help in anyway. Maybe that is triggering and causes more harm than good. Basically, I adopt a read-the-room style of care. (I intentionally use the word fat because, while the connotations are rife, the word itself is not the villain. I will not use it in the direction of anyone unless said person uses it in describing themself first). Also—no slut shaming, no queer phobia, no transphobia, no ableism, no fat shaming... in fact no hate of any kind.
Now that you have a fraction of an idea of what I want to do for/with you, I would be remiss not to tell you that healing is hard. Healing is peeling Off of layers of burnt or dead skin to reveal raw, pink flesh and then scrubbing it daily until it is “clean” enough for the brown skin grows back in. This will not be a short cut. Sometimes you will leave with personal reading and things to learn at home. But. It is absolutely worth it! Sometimes you will come for an injection and not be interested in anything else. That will also be fine. Your body. Your mind. Your life. Your health.
There is no “healed”. There is always “healing”. Always. So! Let’s revitalize healthcare together!
I can’t wait to meet you! 🙋🏽♀️