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Friday, February 03, 2006

What I cannot do

Lonna and Melissa's comments definitely hit home for me.

I've saved the lives of heart attack victims. I've diagnosed and treated patients and improved their lives through modern medical technology. I've convinced patients to change their lifestyles, to give up meat, to quit smoking, to drink less, to take their medicines, to exercise, and so on.

But, what I cannot do is get my 51 year-old father to go to a doctor. He prides himself that he hasn't had a full physical exam since 1974, the year he and my mother married, the year before I was born. He's been to a doctor a handful of times, but only for things like ear infections or a required "work physical".

He's overweight, out of shape, and who knows what his blood pressure and cholesterol are. I've tried insisting. I've tried begging. But that gets me nowhere. I love him, but he's the most stubborn person I know.

Honestly, there's only so much we can do. When I'm talking to a patient, I'm "the doctor". When I'm talking to Dad, I'm his little girl, and my advice simply doesn't hold weight.

So all I can do is be patient. One day, something will happen that will bring him to a doctor. I just hope it won't be too late.

2 comments:

Dreena said...

Wow. I think your earlier post says it all - we have become so good at treating it that it takes the responsibility away from the individual to make lifestyle changes. There seems to be a mentality in our culture that illness/disease is just part of the course of our lives - "we're gonna' get something, so why bother". I never assume that because I'm vegan and make other healthy choices that I am 'immune' to illness or disease, simply because there are so many factors I have little control over (air, water), and also stress is one of the tougher things to manage and is greatly impacts our well-being. Yet I at least feel confident that I am making choices for me and my family that are preventative and protective.

My mother will visit with us and eat our diet for a month, feel better, lose weight, have more energy, etc, and tells me she is going to cut out dairy, chicken, etc. I visit her a few months later and her fridge is full of every form of dairy out there. She cooked a turkey for Christmas and said she hurt her back taking it out of the oven. I said "maybe the turkey's sending you a message"!!!

Maybe it's because we are their kids that our parents don't listen to us - we didn't listen to them so many times! Hopefully your dad will soon have a lightbulb moment and listen to you...

Geoff Brown said...

I feel your pain, Shenkman. As you know, my dad doesn't like lawyers so much. Besides, if your dad is anything like most men, he's probably listening to everything you say, but there's no way he'll ever do anything crazy like ADMIT that to you. :-)