Anecdote—health care in this country simply does not respect the individual, perhaps it’s just a symptom of our sick society, eh?

I told you my sad tale of woe regarding the home care agency the other day and said how the occupational therapist was a nice guy and I would stick with him but probably dump everyone else. Well today, he too, treated me with complete disregard, which is making me think I’m going to drop them altogether and just go with the cool alternative group of body-workers and energy healers whom I’ve had the pleasure to discover.

My occupational therapist called today to tell me he was coming over today. They’ve all done this every time they come. They call about an hour before they come and don’t ask if it’s okay they just say, “I’m coming.” It’s been annoying in general but something I’ve pretty much overlooked as I don’t have much going on in general.

Today, however, I did. A friend, someone special, from my activism work online whom I’ve been communicating with for two years now and whom I have been wanting to meet for a long time was on his way to my house in transit to a new home in another state.

I told the occupational therapist this except to make things simpler I told him it was an old very close friend I hadn’t seen in a long time, suggesting it was not a good time to come over as he would only be visiting a short while. The therapist without missing a beat said, “Oh, no problem, I’ll just come over while he’s there!”

I was utterly shocked and simply said, “No, that’s not acceptable. This is a good friend I won’t be able to see again for a long time. I don’t want you here.”

The therapist was a bit put off, but then agreed to see me next week. I hung up the phone realizing this was simply not going to work. They think that because I’m housebound and sick that means I have no life and apparently no rights to privacy either. So ciao ciao homecare.

I can’t imagine what I would do if I didn’t have a spouse and all sorts of other resources including a therapist who is making herself available whenever I feel well enough to talk on the phone. She’s even given me her home phone number. I’ve only used it once. She simply sees my need and meets it. I know it’s likely I’m the only one of her clients who has her home number.

Like I said in my last post, though I get some wrenches thrown my way, I’m repeatedly amazed at how my needs do get met.

In any case the alternative group of body and energy healers will be sending someone to do energy work and range of motion/massage with me. And that group shares my deep respect for human beings and their dignity. And that is clear.

I’m deeply grateful for this group and can’t wait to meet who will be working with me.

Oh, I also have a cold! It’s the first cold I’ve had in about a decade. Got it from my husband. I don’t generally get infectious illness as I have an over-active immune system—which is actually a bad thing. So I’m not sure what to make of this. It may actually suggest in some sort of bizarre way that I’m doing better. But then again the cold is not too bad yet and my husbands was really nasty so maybe the over-active immune system is kicking it’s ass.

I feel as sick as I always do and basically it always feel like I have the flu. So now it’s just like usual except I’m coughing, sneezing, and blowing my nose. I’m hoping I don’t start feeling worse than usual, because seriously, I really do feel like I always have the flu. It gets old. And I’ll get worse again next time I do my crossover in any case so I don’t need the addtional worsened sick time of a cold.

26 thoughts on “Anecdote—health care in this country simply does not respect the individual, perhaps it’s just a symptom of our sick society, eh?

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  1. Hi giannakali, I am not against therapists as such (I am one myself), only wanted to point out that if you are not happy with your therapist or any other therapist you have an option to help your self, with the tools of a self-help therapy program. There are many on the internet. I helped myself overcome my ‘mental illness” by studying psychology and clinical nutrition and by studying the various tools of therapy including “management techniques”. Of course, if you are disabled it is nice to get assistance from an agency. I hope you realize that people who are required to do home-visits – as I had to in my career – need to be carefully planned. I don’t fully understand that your carer should just pop in for home visits without prior appointment. What was the arrangement?

    BTW I do not like the way you call my programme that I am “pushing”, which is negative emotive term. It is being “pushed” by a lot of scientists in my field and I believe is not being “pushed” enough having regard to so many people who believe religiously in the myth of chemical cures for mood disorders. I hope we are on the same side.

    I am not ‘advertising’ my site, in the sense of promoting sales. I am just a retired counsellor voluntarily offering my experiences in counselling for those who are looking for an alternative to conventional treatments, modelled on drugs and/or psychotherapy. This has proved to be fairly ineffective. My field happens to be in psychonutritional therapy, which I see as an evidence-based approach.

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    1. well, in general on blogs the etiquette is that you don’t put your URL in every post…that is what the dialog box with your URL is for and sorry, I’m a sucker for etiquette.

      There was no agreement with the home care agency…they just proceeded to behave the way they seem to behave with everyone as far as I can tell and it does not agree with me and that is just the way they do business…I don’t have the energy to fight them…so I’m firing them.

      I’m sorry Jurrian, I find you a bit antagonistic at times and so I confront you—it’s my blog and so that’s just how it goes. Your posting your URL in every comment does seem like advertisement to me. If you want a platform for your work you should start a blog. When I comment on other’s blogs I only very seldomly refer explicitly to my website when it very specifically applies to something someone has said…and that is in general the etiquette of the blogosphere.

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  2. I believe we have to make a distinction between “management techniques” and treatment. Most management techniques helps to reduce tension and can make you feel better, but does not necessarily “cure” the illness. So we have; yoga, relaxation therapy, breathing exercises, walking your dog, listening to classical music, pursuing a hobby like painting, meditation, praying in a church, which are good management techniques, but which needs to be repeated over time, because they really do not “cure” the underlying illness.

    As to our dependency on “carers”, therapists, doctors, psychologists, home-visiting agencies and so on, I am a great believer in self-therapy. I happen to be born partially deaf, so I have always had a problem “understanding” people. Consequently, I have always felt uncomfortable in group situations (I can only understand half of what people say). I had to rely very much on written materials and my own research.

    Thus it is not surprising that I come up with a deeply held belief, that we must take responsible for our health and well-being (including “mental” well-being) without the help of so called “therapists” and counsellors, who we know most of the time do not understand the causes of mood disorders. If you want to avoid drug-pushing doctors and psychologists and are committed to self-help therapy (getting to know the tools of self-therapy) I suggest you consult:

    Self-Help Personal Growth Program at:
    http://www.hypoglycemia.asn.au/articles/self-help_personal_growth.html

    and only consult “specialists”, if you want specialist help.

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    1. Jurrian,
      I’m not sure what you’re getting at here. I need help in my home. I’m physically disabled. I don’t really know who or what you are responding to here.

      what’s more yoga, and meditation have been proven to change brain structure through the phenomena of neuroplasticity and I know of people who have completely recovered from serious mental distress with the help of these practices…most people like to continue doing them…that does not mean they are not curative.

      Exercise is another example…you are never done with enough exercise now are you? It’s something healthy people should do for the rest of their lives.

      Your one way only approach leaves out the hundreds of ways people find relief for themselves and total recovery…and I know that not everyone finds it through the methods you are so intent on pushing…even though I have indeed benefited from hypoglycemia diets and other stuff you like to push I don’t imagine or insist that everyone must do as I do…

      also, some therapists are very gifted and truly help people heal…more are somewhat useless but can be comforting to people….there is nothing wrong with that.

      your hypoglycemia diet needs to be repeated daily as well, doesn’t it? so what are you curing? I need to eat 7 times a day there is no “cure.” I need to practice eating regularly. How is that different than meditating from time to time?

      and Jurrian,
      your URL shows up with your name. You need not advertise your site in every comment. My readers know that our names are links to our sites.

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  3. Yes, true.

    The thing about yoga, though, was being part of Eastern culture, then suddenly, becoming part of Western culture. Mr. Iyengar was one of the first to bring hatha yoga to the US, back in the 40’s, back when people thought Gandhi was strange 🙂

    Mr. Iyengar even has a “invocation to patanjali” which is a sanskrit chant, when you are in an advanced class. But, Mr. Iyengar, does not go past Pranayama on the 8 limbs because, as best I’ve heard, he thinks you need to “master” one limb before you get to the next. So, his claim is that even he has not mastered pranayama, so nobody moves on to meditation! Or, others who really love Mr. Iyengar say that he teaches meditation within the asana, but there is no seated meditation in Iyengar style.

    So, basically, for thousands of years, the main emphasis has been meditation, issues more meditative, then, the second it hits the US, it’s all physical yoga.

    Best,
    Ari

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  4. Yes, Yoga traces back since before the time of Christ. However, the way it is practiced, especially the emphasis on hatha, above all else, is a very new, very recent interpretation.

    ha! I studied Christianity at University…and you can say the exact same thing about Christianity too…it is NOT practiced as early Christians practiced it…nor is the theology remotely similar in terms of interpretation of texts and whatnot.

    anything that has been around for thousands of years evolves…

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  5. Well, I take very different yogas here. One yoga is all about the 8 limbs, with an emphasis on meditation. There is hatha, but is in the context of the 8 limbs. It’s also got a good healthy dose of Vedanta.

    Another yoga, I do nearby, is a “core yoga”, which does all asana, but no meditation or other philosophy!

    Best,
    Ari

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  6. I obviously was not very clear about what I meant regarding yoga as practiced in the world today. Sorry to go off topic!

    The yoga, as practiced in the United States today, goes back to the first saint of yoga, Patanjali. This work dates to before Christ, about 150 years BC. The hallmark of Patanjali yoga is “Ashtanga or 8 limbed Yoga”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patanjali

    The Hatha Pradipika, while a well respected commentary on yoga, is not the origin of the many hatha yoga styles that are practiced in the United States of America.

    If you look at the first yogas, practiced in the US, such as Iyengar, Ashtanga, and you look closely at the philosophy, you will see the direct lineage to Patanjali. These styles of yoga, while mostly hatha or physical, are really intact philolsophies – but minus the philosophy part!

    Most major yogas in the US, have Patanjalis same “8 limbs” but the “8 limbs” are never taught, in the US, except maybe to very advanced students.

    These US forms of yoga asana are relatively new ( though have ancient roots, going back to Patanjali ).

    The fact that these yoga asana styles are new, most likely have lead to more than occasional “new agey-ness” that I have observed over the last couple of decades from Britain, to Kathmandu, to Los Angeles.

    This is similar to the situation regarding Soto Zen. Soto Zen has a long, ancient history in Japan. However, because it was brought to the US, pretty close to the “summer of love” and in San Francisco, it has an overtone of “the summer of love” and “San Francisco” to it and is not at all the same style as is taught in Japan.

    Thank you for allowing me to clarify, although this thread has drifted!

    Yes, Yoga traces back since before the time of Christ. However, the way it is practiced, especially the emphasis on hatha, above all else, is a very new, very recent interpretation.

    Best,
    Ari

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    1. well, I’ve certainly took classes that were purely hatha yoga, but I’ve always had teachers who also teach the traditional philosophies as well….including breathing (pranayama) and various meditation practices which names I’ve forgotten as well as weird diet stuff I don’t follow…etc. etc…

      there are traditional teachers out there and I’ve not even purposely tried to find them….so unless my “karma” (ha!) led me there I imagine there are more than just the few I’ve happened upon…

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  7. well, I’m just not up to trying with another mainstream agency….it’s too exhausting…I got a few things taken care of…I can sit in the shower now on a bench with a shower head on a chain…that’s a good thing….

    bathing was pretty much impossible and now I can again…

    so I got that out of it…and that is a very good thing as far as I’m concerned…

    I am just going to let go…no one was purposely awful to me…it’s system stuff and how by the nature of bureaucracy people get dehumanized…

    I”m sure they are pressured about how many people they see and how much time is spent with people…

    my last social work job was ridiculous that way….we HAD to lie to keep our jobs…it was imossible to do what they wanted us to do and we all knew that we all had to inflate numbers…it’s sickening..

    And my first job I got reprimanded because I dared to report my “units of service” honestly. And it was made clear if I didn’t start lying I would be let go.

    it all boils down to the agencies getting their funding by declaring they are doing more than is humanly possible.

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  8. With my mom, they would set up times…I think a week in advance. Then on the morning of their scheduled visit, they would phone again at about 7:30 or 8 a.m. to double-check or reconfirm.

    I am pretty sure they presented her with a patient’s “bill of rights”.

    Even “disabled” people do go places (if only a doctor appointment) or have visitors.

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  9. They call about an hour before they come and don’t ask if it’s okay they just say, “I’m coming.”

    This is a very weird way to run an agency. I can not imagine running a business/health care agency this way.

    Sorry Gianna…very, very strange. I don’t know how they can kept afloat if this is the way they do things. There must be others very unhappy also.

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  10. Hatha yoga (the physical aspect of yoga you mention) dates back to 15th century India…it’s been around a long time…

    and when I talk about yoga I am not only talking about hatha yoga…the whole philosophy and lifestyle is important and I’ve met wonderful teachers who are not in the least bit New Agey…

    In CA too!

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  11. Just to mention about the yoga part of this-

    Having started yoga in 1990, I can testify that it is New Agey! I don’t know how it got that way, but it is.

    Yoga may be ancient, but the entire system of “hatha” (physical yoga) did not exist until this century.

    Patanjali, an ancient teacher, developed about a dozen postures, but those postures were meant to help one sit in meditation for many hours per day, without getting back pain. The whole system of postures (hatha) is new, and possibly why Hatha yoga is kind of New Agey, where Vedanta is not.

    That being said, the New Agey stuff was worse in Washington State than it has been in Minnesota and is worst of all in California. I have done yoga all over the world.

    I just take my yoga class and leave. Occasionally, I’ll find a bright person to talk to, but for the most part, that doesn’t happen. I hear the most air headed things, and just want to wretch, and leave.

    You gotta take what you can take and leave the rest.

    Best,
    Ari

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  12. Shelby and Duane,
    since you’ve both had home care, I realize you know how vulnerable and strange it is to have a stranger in your home…and how offensive it is it they don’t honor your home as sacred…

    I remember when I went to other people’s homes for my work…I literally felt a sense of the sacred come over me when I crossed that threshold…

    it should be considered and honor and a privilege to be allowed to enter someone’s home….

    I really remember that feeling coming over me when I walked into people’s homes it was so palpable…and these people–NONE of them clearly get that…

    and ALL of them have not asked when it was okay to visit…they’ve all simply said when they would be here…so asking for someone else, Shelby, is out of the question, especially since I already did that with the PT.

    it’s the culture of the organization that is bad.

    I have no concerns about the alternative group I’m working with.

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  13. Thanks Gianna for the info. I shall have to do a bit of googling on those topics, and keep watch for any posts you may put up on how your new treatment team is doing. Good stuff.

    I hope I didn’t offend anyone with my New Age comments. I just have been turned off by practitioners that seem to be floating on a cloud of ether. Like a yoga dvd I checked out of the library that almost made be wretch. When a novice like me has a few bad experiences, its easy to let those define ones view of something. And as you reminded me, and open mind is needed to realize quick judgements result in missing out on legitimate time-tested therapies and treatments. There tend to be kernels of truth behind what sometimes are very yucky and off-putting practioners and their presentation of their art.

    My brother has had good experiences with acupuncture for migraine relief.

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  14. Pete,
    all the internal martial arts are great too…

    chi gung
    tai chi

    and stuff like that…

    also of course yoga…hardly new age…it’s been around thousands of years…though some of it’s practitioners today may be new agey.

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  15. there are lots of people who practice alternative medicine who are not at all New Agey…

    Chinese medicine is very grounded…
    and so are many body workers and different sorts of massage even if there is a spiritual component…

    New Agey stuff as you call it can go too far if one accepts everything as dogma…but as all things spiritual if one keeps an open mind there are bits of truth everywhere…

    but yeah, New Agey stuff without a grounding element can be really obnoxious…

    one kind of body work I’ve found really awesome is Cranial Sacral work…

    really, really powerful.

    Oh and I’ve also had great success with acupuncture and shiatsu massage…

    thai massage is awesome too.

    there is tons of stuff out there, and it’s really about the individual practitioner’s world view…some of them are airy fairy and some not…

    find a teacher or school that feels comfortable to you.

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  16. Gianna,

    I really look forward to hearing about your therapy with the new healers. In ’06/’07 I took a years worth of prerequisites for getting into a Masters program for Occupational Therapy. But I’ve put that on the back burner. I know nothing about alternative medicine, but I feel strongly about the power of touch, and it is my desire to become a healer of some sort. And I believe I have it within myself to do so. But I’d never even considered studying alternative therapies. And a light just went off in my head!

    Does your medical insurance cover the alternative group?

    I will admit, I’m a skeptic when it comes to the new age spiritual stuff. It always seems so wishy washy to me, the way I’ve seen it presented. Its probably partially a temperament thing. Yet I do tend to make more decisions with my heart than my mind.

    I certainly believe there is more to our existence and inner-workings than traditional medicine and science has grasped or is even willing to consider. We are certainly flowing with energy. Our nervous system is constantly pulsing with it. Our heart beats because of it.

    And even Physicists, working in a field of science which I greatly admire, are discovering things everyday that border on the metaphysical. While I don’t discount the spiritual, for I am a deeply spiritual person, I often find legitimate reasons why things work as they do.

    (Including the effects of the moon and the other large relatively close spherical bodies that astrology make seem so mysterious. We are water and mineral and energy. And such bodies influence our interutero development depending on their positions during the time of our gestation, and throughout our lives, in a similar fashion to how the moon influences the tides. Nothing real mysterious. Just plain old physics. The nature of things.)

    So I am greatly interested in hearing about the upcoming methods, treatments and results of this alternative healing group. And perhaps find out where such persons receive their education.

    Sorry about rambling a bit.

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  17. this is what I explicitly say in the post:

    My occupational therapist called today to tell me he was coming over today. They’ve all done this every time they come. They call about an hour before they come and don’t ask if it’s okay they just say, “I’m coming.”

    that in my mind is not an acceptable way to treat someone in their home…and I don’t give a crap what their job situation is…

    you ASK someone if the time is okay and appropriate you don’t tell them you are coming with no notice…this is my home NOT their workplace.

    appts are something altogether different and I of course respect appts.

    and they won’t have work here anymore either because I’m sick of not having my home and space respected.

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  18. they phone me out of the blue and that is what they’ve done every time…

    I say that explicitly in my post…

    There was no appt. He was not trying to keep an appt.

    The tone of his voice has nothing to do with anything….the sheer presumption of his being able to come to my house on one hours notice and interrupt my date with my friend is OFFENSIVE…

    this is all very clearly stated in the post.

    read it again.

    and I’m with Duane…I can do without them. The other agency understands…

    I really have no idea why you’re supporting these people NG,
    I worked in people’s homes for over a decade…and I respected that it was their home and that they had a life.

    If there had been a scheduled appt, yes, of course that would be different, but there was no appt…and I make that clear in the post.

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  19. Gianna,

    I am going to play the devil’s advocate.
    I had two separate jobs in which I visited clients in their homes. I had to use my own vehicle and I was not paid unless and actual visit was made. I worked hard to get all my appointments in the same section of town so that I wasn’t driving back and forth. (We did get milage but it still didn’t pay for the wear and tear on the vehicle.)

    Now, I didn’t hear the conversation or his tone of voice.

    Was your appointment already made? Of did he just phone you out of the blue?

    In my case I would try very hard to keep the appointment…otherwise I had a blank spot in my day. There is no harm in trying to keep the appointment. And you did say it was a close friend so he probably thought you were close enough that it would be okay and the friend would understand.

    And we didn’t want to skip appointments because the client probably really needed that time with me for continuity of care.

    Now sometimes a client and I didn’t click right away, but as we got to know each other things usually got better. If they did not better, then a transfer by either party could be requested.

    I can see why he tried very hard to keep the appointment with you. But I didn’t hear the conversation, the tone of voice.

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  20. The flu symptoms must be horrible. I get them from time to time with my weaning off Risperdal. I don’t think I could cope with having them all the time. I hope this new group is a better one to work with. Take care of yourself.

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  21. Gianna,

    My sixth surgery, they had to go through an abdominal mesh….So, it took about three months for the wound to heal…

    I was assigned a visiting nurse….She was to help me every for several month to pack the wound….

    It lasted only a few weeks…She kept insisting I take pain medication….and, I refused…..

    She kept telling me it was important to “manage pain”, and I kept tellilng her that I didn’t want to lose my sense of self on mind-altering drugs….

    I got tired of arguing with her, and politely told her I would pack the wound by myself….”Nobody’s ever asked to do that….I’m not sure you can do it yourself”…..

    Well, I did.

    I don’t like most nurses….not anything personal, it’s just that they push drugs….I’m not interested in drugs.

    Duane

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  22. I’ve had agency home health in the past. They are suppose to come when it’s okay with you. Any time one of them does something to bother you/doesn’t work out then you can ask for a replacement. I was told this in the initial interview by the in-take person.

    When I have medical folks in my house it makes me feel vulnerable.
    I do understand how you feel. That OC can only do her job when it’s just the 2 of you-not when you have company.

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