Today on the Doc On The Run podcast were talking about hope an underappreciated, but invaluable commodity.
Today I was doing a remote consultation call with a frustrated runner in Texas. We worked through her problem and came up with some options that should help her figure out what’s really going on and get her back on track.
After the call, she sent a really nice email to me in which she said,
“Thank you also for the understanding and hope… an under-appreciated but invaluable commodity.”
That was a really nice thing to say but it really brought up a lot of things for me because I realized a lot of doctors do not offer hope. In fact, they do quite the opposite.
Now I am not exactly a Bible thumper, but when I got this email a certain passage came to mind. Regardless of your religious leanings, I’ll bet most runners can relate to this. It’s Romans 5.5 which says “From suffering comes endurance. From endurance comes character. From character comes hope. And hope does not disappoint.”
Have you ever had a race that you really only made it through just because you believe you can do it?
Sometimes you get to a place where it seems like all you have left is hope and when you get to that place it seems like hope is really all that you need.
Hope does not disappoint.
Hope is a necessary ingredient to healing.
One unfortunate trend in medicine is that doctors want to give you the most conservative estimate. What that means in practice is that they give you the most pessimistic estimate of healing. They tell you’re never going to run again. They tell you but you have to find a different pass time. In short, they tell you you’re probably not going to get better.
I think we can all agree that doctors have a responsibility to not give patients false hope.
But at the same time, I personally believe doctors had no right to give you a false sense of failure before you even begin to heal.
Think about that for a second. If you had a six-year-old kid who was playing baseball and got hurt, is there any chance you would tell her she could never play baseball again?
Of course not, that would be absolutely absurd and it would be mean. You don’t know how that kid’s going to heal. And truthfully neither does the doctor.
No one wants to be mean to little kids but doctors seem to not treat adult patients with the same level of kindness and concern.
Obviously if someone has a broken neck and is paralyzed from the neck down, and the doctor claims that with some sort of expensive magical fairy dust and years of treatment, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, that doctor is not offering you hope. That, is a snake oil salesman and that doctor might be a criminal.
However, at the other end of the spectrum we have doctors who may have the best intention because they don’t want to disappoint you but they tell you that you’re not going to get better when they actually don’t know that to be true. And we know that there’s a lot of psychology behind healing and there’s a lot of evidence that if you believe things are going to start to improve, they will.
So in short if your doctor tells you that you’re not going to get better, if your doctor doesn’t seem to offer any hope, you probably need a second opinion.
If you have a question that you would like answered as a future addition of the Doc On The Run Podcast, send it to me PodcastQuestion@docontherun.com. And then make sure you join me for the next edition of the Doc On The Run Podcast!
Dr. Christopher Segler is a podiatrist and ankle surgeon who has won an award for his research on diagnosing subtle fractures involving the ankle that are often initially thought to be only ankle sprains. He believes that it is important to see the very best ankle sprain doctor in San Francisco that you can find. Fortunately, San Francisco has many of the best ankle sprain specialists in the United States practicing right here in the Bay Area. He offers house calls for those with ankle injuries who have a tough time getting to a podiatry office. You can reach him directly at (415) 308-0833.
But if you are still confused and think you need the help of an expert, a “Virtual Doctor Visit” is the solution. He has been “meeting” with runners all over the world and providing just that sort of clarity through online consultations for years. He can discuss your injury, get the answers you need and explain what you REALLY need to do to keep running and heal as fast as possible.
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