Today is March 17th, 2020. Covid-19 is dominating all of our thoughts or at least almost all. Today I'm choosing to be kind, choosing to try to be an agent of change.
I'm hurting. I am a patient in the Healthcare system, diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. But I am not a victim. And I'm doing just fine thanks. For several years I have chosen to be an empowered patient. I don't even know exactly what that means myself, but everyday I fight to try to improve population health and Healthcare systems. Everyday I am supported by a great group of people that appreciate my efforts and everyday targeted by people that don't.
I said I'm hurting. Every time someone discredits all of Integrative Medicine (integrating treatments and prevention that have good evidence of helping patients -- definition here) based on actions of a few, I hurt. Every time someone bashes all doctors based on a flawed healthcare system, I hurt. Every time a patient is ignored or told "there's nothing else we can do" when actually there is, I hurt. Every time someone is given a false "no hope" diagnosis based on existing science even though many have improved otherwise, I hurt.
We may all be fighting a hard battle. Maybe I'm hard on some, maybe some are hard on me. But our adversarial approaches have accomplished exactly nothing. Painting all of conventional medicine or all of Integrative Medicine with a broad brush is a very sure way to fire up a crowd. Let's stop. Painting all doctors as being bad or money-grubbing or anything else is a sure way to start an adversarial conversation. And accomplish nothing. Let's stop that.
We are not going to heal health care or improve population health or, in the case of covid-19 we're not going to improve the number of people with underlying conditions, by fighting with each other on Twitter. But we can achieve all of that by working together. Let's sharpen our pencils. Let's put away the broad brushes.
If my advocacy for the topics I support has made me seem disrespectful, I apologize. As I said I'm hurting. And I don't want anybody else to have to be hurting. I'm trying to drive change. I'm simply doing my best.
I will endeavour in future conversations to focus on the issue and not focus on the person. I believe I have tried to do that from the outset but hey, 280 characters. I'm sure I've annoyed the hell out of some of you. I'm also sure I've been a beacon of hope for others.
I believe many of our current health and Healthcare problems stem from a profits over patients theme. It's prevalent throughout our food, ag and healthcare systems. I believe many of our problems can be solved through an integrative approach to Medicine, with patients somewhat demanding this type of care. And many others think a lot like me. I think every practitioner would endeavour to be an Integrative Medicine practitioner if they had the time with patients to do so. They would guide and encourage patients to improve their health, they would connect them with other community members, and we would see health and Healthcare improvements.
I'm one patient. I'm hurting. But I'm not a victim. And there are a lot like me. Join me and others in respectful conversation to improve health and Healthcare. I will not apologize for calling out what I believe to be nonsense, but I will do my best to be respectful in doing so. And I'll do my best to use a small brush. Let's paint a beautiful story together.