Friday, November 8, 2013

Admitting is the First Step

I was driving home yesterday afternoon and listening, as always, to CBC Radio One.

It's a rare day when I'm am not fascinated by what they are talking about.

I missed the beginning of the interview and didn't catch who exactly they were interviewing. Whoever it was was talking about the growing number of people out there who are using some form of alternative therapy. My ears perked up when she said ''naturopath".

The speaker did not have any problem with naturopaths but she did say that many traditional family doctors do.

Because of that, many patients keep that information from their family doctor. They also, often, refrain from mentioning that they are taking fish oil. Or Coenzyme Q10. Or any other non-traditional supplement which, according to the speaker, can interact with pharmaceutical drugs in unexpected ways.

The message was not to stop taking supplements. Nor was it to stop taking pharmaceuticals.

It was to be open with everyone about who you are going to see, what you are taking, and why.

It's interesting.

When I went to the naturopath last week, they asked me to fill out a form with all the medications I was taking and the doses. I didn't hesitate and put every little pill down. I even put down the Vega powder I put in my breakfast shake because it's pretty high in a lot of things and I didn't want them recommending something that might lead to my taking too much.

On the other hand, when I go to my family doctor and they ask what I'm taking, I have no problem listing all the medications that they, or my diabetes doctor, prescribed. I do, however, refrain from mentioning my Vega powder. Or my iron pills.

I haven't seen my GP since I saw my naturopath but I'll be there early in the new year. I already know I'm going to think several times before 'admitting' that I'm taking a teaspoon of fish oil in my breakfast and digestive enzymes before meals.

Because I'm pretty darn sure I'm going to get a sigh and a polite lecture.

I also know that I'm going to think twice about telling my diabetes doctor because I've asked her several times about supplements for people with type 1 and she has always insisted that I only need Vitamin D and nothing else.

I'm not sure what the problem is exactly. I'm a firm believer that I am responsible for my own health and that the doctors, nurses and dieticians I see are there to help me make good choices and understand my options. They are not my bosses and they don't have the right to tell me what to do or not do. They can make recommendations and provide information to help me make my own choices.

And yet I am not thrilled at the idea of telling them about the naturopath in my life and the fact that I'm giving their advice as much weight as everyone else's. I won't do everything they recommend either but I'll certainly consider it seriously.

I have a few months before my next 'traditional' appointment which should give me enough time to get used to the idea that I'm going to have to look my doctor in the eye and say 'yes, I'm taking fish oil and enzymes'.

Do we have a problem?

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