We Want To See You A Whole Lot And Then, Not So Much
Dr. Miki and I agree on a lot of things. That is why we make such great colleagues at ANM. One of the fundamental things we agree upon is that we need to see and be with our patients in order to help them get healthier. We both feel strongly that without regular follow-up visits it is impossible for us to manage difficult and chronic cases. We also agree that we don’t want to have to see our patients all the time. Those may sound like conflicting ideas so I’ll explain.
In the beginning of care, we both spend a great deal of time studying and working on a patient’s case. Outside of the initial two-hour visit, there are many hours spent on a case study, examining test results and preparing the patient’s treatment plan. It takes somewhere between four to six visits to really understand someone and their unique presentation of dis-ease. If you think about it, less than 10 hours to really understand someone isn’t bad!
During that time, we are trying out different treatments and modifying or “tweaking” a patient’s plan. Additionally, a second round of laboratory work is usually ordered. Once we dive into “the onion”, peel back the layers of the patient’s health, and begin to understand what really needs to be healed, it is necessary for us to see the patient on a regular basis.
After the initial round of visits, it takes time for a patient’s whole organism to change. Time is needed for a patient to make and successfully adapt to lifestyle changes. Time is also needed for physiological and biochemical changes to manifest in the body. This happens around the ninth month mark when a deep change in the patient’s health begins.
Unfortunately, many patients stop their regular visits when they reach this point. Their initial symptoms that caused them to seek care have disappeared and so, they may think, “Why go back to the doctor?”. The answer to this question is that symptoms are the last thing to arrive and the first thing to disappear. The soil that grew the pathology doesn’t begin to change until after the symptoms have disappeared. Dr. Miki and I both agree that it takes approximately 15 months of treatment to alter a patient’s terrain enough permanently erase the dis-ease. And so, it takes around two years to make a fundamental change in a person’s health.
After this two-year mark, we want to see our patients less and less. This is when a patient can move into a maintenance type of relationship with us. This type of relationship is when a patient comes in for follow-up visits three to four times a year. We monitor the evolving signs of health, we create a reinvigorating treatment plan, and we check labs to look for possibilities of new dis-ease that may be brewing. We believe that this is true preventative medicine.
Many of our patients choose to stop seeing us all together once their symptoms have subsided and then they show back up four, five, and sometimes even ten years later with a new dis-ease. Dr. Miki and I agree that we prefer to be partners with our patients in prevention of illness. We want our patients to be truly healthy. We want to see them a whole bunch at first to make that happen. And then, we want to see them only every once in a while.
“Suppression is the friend of impatience.” Dr. Chris Chlebowski