I’d like to continue the theme of my last article, “New Year, New Methods!” 2014 is THE year for change. We are looking at new opportunities for universal healthcare coverage, new ways of practicing medicine, and in Ruidoso, a new chance to affect the direction our community takes regarding leadership.
New Year, New Me! What does that mean? I can’t tell you what that means for you. I can tell you what that means for me and my medical practice. Last year I embarked on a journey as I accepted and then embraced the changes that occurred as I entered andropause or “Manopause”. As I came to grips with my own humanity and accepted that my testosterone level would not be up to my demands, I began to explore new ways of practicing medicine and treating patients. It was almost 180 degrees apart from the conditioning I received in medical school. Now, I listen to a patient’s issues and concerns and treat them based on their goals, not my goals for them.
Along the way I realized that the typical Western medicine approach to medical concerns didn’t always fix the problems and in some cases actually created new problems. Returning to the basics of human psychology and physiology actually yielded some “breakthrough” answers as I attempted to navigate the minefield of my own issues. I’ll discuss two of them in this article.
- Just because I’ve always done it that way doesn’t mean that my way is the best way. Many of you have read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. Published in 1936, fifteen million copies have been sold worldwide in multiple languages, according to Wikipedia (15,000,0001 including my copy). This wasn’t required reading in any of my classes. I am now of the opinion that it should be required reading for EVERYONE in the human race. I have always held myself to very high standards and have endeavored to do the right thing, every time, similar to Dale Carnegie. It took his book to bring home the lesson: No matter if I am 100% in the right, if I beat my opponent over the head with my correctness, nobody wins. It will be a journey to implement this sage wisdom.
- We don’t have medication deficiencies. I was trained to treat depression with anti-depressants, anxiety with anxiolytics, pain with narcotics, and elevated cholesterol with cholesterol-lowering medications (statins). Western medical education is subsidized by big pharma. All physicians in the U.S. are taught that if a patient has a condition, treat the symptoms with a drug! If the drugs cause bothersome side effects, use an additional medication to mask the side effects. Many patients are interested in a new (very old) treatment methodology. Why not treat the cause instead of covering up the symptoms? I didn’t have a Prozac, Xanax, Vicodin, and Lipitor deficiency. Those medications were designed to mask the same symptoms I experienced with a testosterone deficiency; they weren’t designed to treat the primary problem. Testosterone replacement treated all the above symptoms as well as decreased libido, sleep disturbances, muscle loss and gain of unwanted abdominal fat.
When I took the Hippocratic oath I embarked on a journey to be a lifelong learner. Obviously, not all lessons are learned early, as attested by my forty-two years prior to discovering some key principles and beginning to incorporate them into my life and medical practice. One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2014? I want to continue to change me! I challenge each of you to examine your life and join me in changing the things that need improvement. I’m not saying that you were doing it all wrong or that you were doing things differently from the way you were taught. Take a critical look, and if there is room for improvement, make the change! If you haven’t read Dale Carnegie or incorporated all of the life lessons illustrated in his books; re-read the books or listen to the audio versions. I’ll be doing the same.
Disclaimer: Dr Stephen Rath, MD, DABA is a board certified anesthesiologist, Air Force flight surgeon, FAA AME, paramedic, ski patroller, and pilot as well as the owner and medical director of Fusion Medical Spa located in Ruidoso, NM. He is committed to making great changes before he is committed. Comments or questions? His email address is: DrRath@FusionMedicalSpa.net.