Alternative medicine in a Rural community: What patients teach me
As a Doctor, I am privileged to get snapshots into people’s lives that I otherwise would never know about. The thing about medicine is it is a practice. In school you’re taught textbook examples of illness; however, I have yet to see a person come in with a “textbook” presentation of a condition – hence the practice of medicine. What I find most powerful for most people is knowing that they are not alone on their journey to health. This is why I thought I would share my journey to health based on the things I’ve learned from my patients.
Case #1: Balance
When you’re busy helping everyone else it is easy to ignore the warning signs your body is giving you that something is no longer work.
I had a patient come in eczema, a skin condition that results in itchy, dry patching of skin and can be very uncomfortable. After the patient reported what was going on we discussed the many factors that can contribute to eczema like allergies, poor diet, dry skin, hormone imbalance, and stress. We started with the most obvious, diet changes and gut health, and within three weeks they were well on their way to recovery. Conveniently, the day after I saw this patient I noticed my skin was itchy after I showered. I started to think back to when I first noticed this and realized it has been a few weeks. Initially I had assumed it was the change in weather that caused the itchiness, however, after adding lotion to my daily routine the itchiness did not stop. After seeing this patient I reflected on my own skin care and when “warning signs” started to arise for me and noted it was about the same time my workload increased and my healthy eating decreased aka I was stressed. My priority to work resulting in 12 hour work days with no time to cook or exercise. Since my itchy skin was minor compared to some cases I decided to not try any treatments yet and focus on readjusting my lifestyle. I cut my work day to 9 hours and made sure I worked out once a day outside in the fresh air and went back to cooking healthy meals. Within three weeks my itchy skin was gone.
What did I learn from my patient – how easy it is to fall out of balance without even noticing it. Luckily this patient inspired me to check in with myself before my itchy skin turned in to something more serious.
Even in a small town where most people live for the wonderful playground mother nature provides us with, it is easy to get caught up in work rather than play. If you feel like you do not have time to take a break then that is the moment you should realize taking a break is the most important thing you should do at that moment.
Dr. Diana Draper, BA,ND
Located at:Clear Water Naturopathic Medicine
Clear Water Naturopathic Medicine
2500 10th Ave
Castlegar BC V1N 3A2
T: 778-460-4341 (local number)