Thursday, March 14, 2013

Doctor's Check-up: Encouraging News after Arrhythmia

I went to see my new doctor at Kaiser Permanente. I told the medical assistant that I chose my doctor because she is an osteopath, a D.O., who is trained to treat the whole person and whose bio showed an interest in nutrition. The assistant, who took my blood pressure with gentle movements, said that this is the reason most people choose Dr. Wilson.

My new doctor's full name is Dr. Cynthia Wilson. I found myself surprised when we shook hands that she was taller than I am. I'm 5'9" and don't meet a lot of women who are taller than I am. For some reason, I enjoyed that (was there was some kind of childish desire to "look up to" my doctor or just a feeling of relaxing and not falling into old habits of not standing so tall so others are not intimidated?).

Dr. Wilson greeted me warmly with: "We have the same name." I did a little silent, "Huh?" for a brief moment and then realized she meant "Cynthia," the name on my birth certificate, the name on my passport, the name on my health records, the name that has felt no more my name than my Social Security Number. She went on to check my records and make sure my history was more complete. She said I was due for a mammogram and flu shots. I declined on both counts but forgot to ask about thermograms at Kaiser. She was totally respectful. No lecture about doing it the conventional way.  She also told me that on the Kaiser member's page there was access to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database (a nice bonus, I was just thinking of renewing my subscription!).

I shared that my family has a history of Crohn's (my dad's side) and I had had a little basal cell cancer spot removed from my nose (the Irish skin I inherited from my mom's side coupled with the California seaside sunburns come with penalties). I shared that I had had some autoimmune challenges (leaky gut causing multiple allergies, Sjogren's, and a broken ankle that wouldn't mend) which all healed with diet and nutrition. I shared that I continue to be sensitive to a number of foods but try to be careful about rotating my foods to minimize sensitivities. She really listened. I felt grateful, lucky even, and my whole system relaxed in a nice way.

Of course, I shared about my recent arrhythmia, which I settled down with good amounts of magnesium and CoQ-10 and deep breathing last Saturday in the wee hours of the morning. Dr. Wilson took out her stethoscope and listened to my heart. Low blood pressure, heart beat around 67, good, rhythmical beats with clear lungs, all good. She was encouraging about my prevention routine, and she also advised me to be careful about staying hydrated, noting that dehydration can also put stress on the heart. Umm, huh. That would correlate with the coffee, to which I know I am sensitive and which is always dehydrating and overly stimulating. It would also correlate to the fact I haven't put a household water filter to eliminate chlorine, so I have been avoiding my water a bit.

Next priority: water filtration for my new house (just as important for bath and shower water as we absorb destructive (cancer-causing) amounts of chlorine each time we bathe in unfiltered water).

I'm also thinking about joining a Kaiser tai chi or qi gong class at the Fabiola Building where family medicine is housed in Oakland. I am really happy to be a Kaiser member (I've never said that about any other health care insurance program).

I will still see my naturopath and consult with my favorite integrative practitioners, as I think it takes a village to see things clearly from all vantage points. Still, I feel lucky to be in an integrative-thinking kind of culture and community in the Bay Area and part of a health care community that includes integrative wellness options!.

Please write to me if you are in the Bay Area and would like to chat!

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