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  • Nicholas Licameli

My Story At the Mechanic and the Healthcare System

I recently took my car to the mechanic and had an interesting experience that reminded me of the medical system. Here's what happened... . . My car was leaking some fluid evidenced by a small wet mark on the ground where I parked. I know only the basics about cars, so naturally I was concerned. Was this something serious? Was it dangerous? Was it normal? I had no idea. I went into the mechanic not knowing what to expect. . . After the car was examined, I sat down with the mechanic, expecting the worst. He used a bunch of words that I didn't understand and told me that the part was likely going to run me close to $1,500. Naturally I was disheartened, disappointed, saddened, and even a little scared. Before I could decide what I wanted to do, he said, "Or...you could just check the oil frequently and you should be fine." Just from his reassuring words, my negative feelings were uplifted and I was given a sense of empowerment. I was given the power to help my car myself! The mechanic could have instilled dependency and fear using false narratives to keep me coming back and spending money. But he didn't... . . Our patients go through the same process. Say I wake up with pain. I'm not an expert in how the body works, so naturally I am concerned. I go to a healthcare practitioner, not knowing what to expect. What happens next? Am I told that I have bulging discs and the spine of an 80 year old? Am I told that I need an injection, physical therapy 3x/week for 6 weeks, and possibly surgery? This would make me disheartened, disappointed, saddened, and even a little scared. . . Or...does the healthcare practitioner say, "Look, pain happens. We ruled out red flags. Pain is multifactorial and is not necessarily related to a physical or structural pathology. You will get through this and I will be your guide, but ultimately you will help yourself. You are not broken, my friend." . . Our words can make all the difference. Are we creating dependency through false narratives and fear mongering to make a quick buck? Or are we empowering your patients through education and reassurance during difficult and scary times? You decide...




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