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When the Doctor Becomes the Patient

When the Doctor Becomes the Patient

If you have been anxiously awaiting my monthly tips and announcements and wondering why I had gone silent, please allow me to offer this excuse: I injured my back from a slight rock climbing fall in Joshua Tree in May. For several months I needed to focus any spare energy on healing. I am ecstatic to say now that I can finally return to other normal activities, but it was quite a journey to get here. Complete with its ups and downs, I can see that this unpleasant experience was actually also filled with heartwarming and even some hilarious moments I’d like to share.

Who Cares for your Caregiver?

Have you ever wondered who cuts your hairdresser’s hair, massages your masseuse, cleans your dentist’s teeth, or cares for your doctor? I have, and would like to share with you my own wonderful team of givers that helped me recover from my injury. I will not be able to thank them enough.

First is Frida Hauksdottir, a European osteopath skilled in the lost art of osteopathic medicine here in the US. She answered my cry for help and came on her day off to work on me for three hours, helping me achieve an ounce of relief from the torture chamber of my body. Next is Anne Davies, an acupuncturist that also helped ease the pain, reduce stress, and calm my body.  Third is Liz Hurst, a massage therapist with compassion and helping hands.

Muscle Spasms and Kids

I’ll spare you all the excruciating details, but offer up a few humorous highlights that I can laugh at now in hindsight. At certain points in my recovery, every muscle on the right side of my body would spasm with the slightest movement. My twin boys would dash to my bedside, panic stricken and paralyzed by my screams of agony. There was no way they could help me. I was a crazed woman yelling to them,  “Remember this — because your wives will be screaming just the same when they are delivering your babies!”

“Mama, we don’t understand!”

My boys were speechless. As the days wore on, one son would rush over as I would uncontrollably yell out with a new wave of spasms. The other son called out, “I want to come too, but I can not take the screams any more. It hurts me too much, and you yell at us not to touch you!” Eventually my screams faded to moans that became annoying white noise in our home.

In the ER resting on my back when I could!

Physically drained, Mentally alert

I know that my adrenals are fatigued and require healing now, because at the time of the incident I did not sleep for 21 days straight! That adrenaline pumping through my veins, however, did keep me mentally alert as I continued my shifts in the ER on a walker.

Feeling slightly better but bored while pain chained me to the bed at home, I had the boys take pictures of their bathroom to show it’s condition and thus began their new weekly cleaning duty. My son’s honesty kept me in good spirits as he lovingly said, “Mama, don’t get me wrong — I am glad you are feeling better, but I liked it better when you were in pain and could not tell us to do so much work!”

On Being a Patient

This injury reminded me of what it’s like to be on the other side. Though a medical doctor myself, even I struggled at times to convince my healers of what I needed to heal. When I am the caregiver, I always try my best to listen to patients when they tell me something is wrong. Regardless if conventional tests say all is well, I dig for the root cause, and look outside the box if my patient says they still feel ill. In my case on the 14th week, we finally found a pinched nerve that was missed on my MRI and I  received an epidural. This completely changed the course of my recovery. By week 19, I was able to do a mini hike. Hallelujah!

The Key Takeaway:

One of the best things any patient can do for themselves is to voice their symptoms and feelings, thoroughly and frequently.

I am so thankful to my three heroines Frida, Anne, and Liz, who helped me through my 19-week ordeal. Please allow me to share my gratitude for them with this referral:

  • Frida Hauksdottir, Back On Track Bodywork 949-600-0394 info@backontrackbodywork.com backontrackobdywork.com. If you suffer from a musculoskeletal problem, I truly believe she works miracles.
  • Anne Davies,  Laguna Beach Acupuncture contactus@lbacu.com 949-407-8728 lbacu.com. If you suffer from stress and pain, I found it very helpful. She also practices Chinese medicine.
  • Liz Hurst, Massage Therapist 949-290-8256. If you need to relax your muscles, she was able to reduce the tension in my muscles.

The only “crevices” I will be navigating for a while!

In Health,

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Ready to Finally Feel Better?

Anita Wang, MD, FACEP, is a board-certified medical doctor of 30 years

Feel better, look better, naturally without harsh prescriptions or complicated surgeries. Practicing Functional and Integrative Medicine allows her to help patients find optimal health and vitality through comprehensive health profiling and rebalancing. She has practiced at UCLA Medical, Eisenhower Medical Center, and as a team lead in China during the 2003 SARS outbreak with Doctors without Borders (MSF). As the founder and lead practitioner of Wellness, Longevity and Aesthetics, Dr. Wang speaks globally, advocating for natural preventive health, pelvic and muscular strengthening, and minimally invasive aesthetics skin tightening.