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Being sick: 3 lessons learned

I had a very humbling experience a few weeks ago. Shortly after posting on how to be healthy I became sicker than I have ever been in my life. I don't get sick very often and so I was oblivious to how sick I really was. Fortunately I got great medical care and was quickly back on the road to health.

I like to practice growth mindset, so here are 3 things I learned:

1. More empathy. Being a patient is hard! My doctor asked me to get a number of tests done (chest x-ray, blood work) and I was flummoxed by the idea of trying to travel around town to various hospitals getting testing done when, with 103 degree fever, I could barely crawl out of bed. Makes you miss the days of house calls by doctors. To my patients, I appreciate you coming in to see me even when you are in pain.

2. Accept the benefits of 'conventional, western medicine'. Admittedly, even as an MD, I trend towards less interventional, more natural methods. That means that I try hard to treat illness and injury first with the simplest means possible, ie diet, exercise, maybe some targeted supplements. But not everything responds to this approach, which is why I am also grateful for more interventional things, in this case IV antibiotics. In my practice, this may mean targeted injections, acupuncture or medications. My overall point is, don't be too rigid! I see a lot of polarization between 'western' medicine and 'alternative' medicine. Both can have their benefits and are appropriate at different times.

3. Take better care of myself. "Self-care" is a term often thrown loosely around. What does it really mean? In my case, it means when I am sick, slow it down, stop pushing through, rest and accept help. It's been a rough season of illness for most people I know. Here's to health, healing and looking forward to healthier days! Keep moving and take care of yourself!! Dr. V.

About the author

Sarah Vlach

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