Living Frugally: Who’s Your Doctor?

When I worked security in the Texas prison system, I had the most amazing health insurance plan.  I remember paying $10 for the doctor visit when my son’s mother found out she was pregnant. That $10 covered all other doctor’s visits, a three-day hospital stay, anesthesiologist, emergency C-section, etc.

The doctor was a top-of-the-line, well-respected man who was sought after by women all over this huge state of Texas. Women flocked to him because he was great at what he did andNaturopathic II because he, along with his team, produced positive, favorable results in even the most life-threatening situations.

When it comes to health care, isn’t that what we want and should expect?  Do we not seek surgeons who have the ability to perform high-risk surgeries and ensure the safety of their patients?  Do we not go to our doctors expecting to leave their office with a better understanding of our illness and a course of action that will lead to healing?

I’m sure your answer is yes, so let me ask, Is that what you’re getting?

Think about the question before you answer. You may think, “I’m not sick now so the answer must be Yes.”

Well, not really?

When we take advice from our doctor we are hoping – and paying for – information that will deal with the cause of our sickness not just the symptoms of it. I’m not paying to “feel” better. I’m paying to “be” better. THAT is my doctor’s job. So you may “feel” well but if the cause of your sickness has not been addressed, it’s just festering, waiting to rear its ugly head to a more serious degree later on.

Imagine that your garage is on fire. Everyone in your family is safe, watching the fire department pull up to the front of your house. You know there’s nothing really valuable in the garage. The car is in the driveway, your tools are almost indestructible and the children’s bikes are easily replaceable. The garage is not attached to the house but it is fairly close by.

NaturopathicThe guys and gals pour out of the fire trucks, dressed to take care of business. As they approach, you explain that everyone is safe.  The captain asks, “How are you feeling? Any anxiety?”

Your brows wrinkle and he responds, “We know anxiety, fear and regret are results of this kind of situation. I just want to be sure we address those issues.”

(This is when you start looking for someone else to hopefully take charge of the situation.)

Obviously, the anxiety, feeling of loss, confusion, etc. are important issues, but they can be dealt with after the fire is put out. Concentrating on the symptoms just gives the fire time to spread from the garage to the kitchen, then to the bedrooms.  I realize this isn’t a perfect analogy but you get my point.

Ask your doctor, point-blank, “Are you treating my symptoms or the cause of my illness?” If she/he cannot answer or refuses to answer, I’d start looking for another doctor. Personally I recommend a naturopathic doctor. They are less prone to prescribe pills which come with side-effects and they tend to dive deeper into your diet, routine, stressors and daily surroundings in order to find the cause of your sickness.

Example: A middle-aged man had been on high blood pressure meds for several years at the direction of his PCP. One day, he decided to try a naturopathic doctor. The new physician had the patient verbally go through his daily routine, listened and recommended the patient change his morning jogging route to avoid running around the chemical plants.  Within six months the patient no longer had high blood pressure and never went back to his traditionally trained doctor.

The effect on this man’s wallet is obvious. The money he was spending on costly pills can now be devoted to retirement, savings, higher education funds or giving to charity.

I challenge you to take control of your health.  Grab the reins from your doc and make him/her do their job. You wouldn’t keep a painter who did a horrible job on your living rooms walls, don’t continue paying a physician who can’t get you healthy.

What are some of the ways that you can take charge of your health today, right now?

Blogger-in-Chief here at RetirementSavvy and author of Sin City Greed, Cream City Hustle and RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.

6 Comments

  1. Like I’ve explained to my son, “You shouldn’t wait till you have a permanent curve in your back to become concerned about proper posture. You think about that when you’re young in order to avoid the permanent curve”.
    When we’re young and healthy is when we should be concerned with our health so that in our later years, we have a lot less to worry about….kinda’ like with retirement 🙂

  2. James, you’re COMPLETELY correct. They DO bank on our ignorance!!

  3. You are right, James. I need to educate myself better on this. It’s been something that hasn’t taken priority since I’m relatively young and thankfully, healthy. But that is the time to start, since it’s not the time to find a good doctor when you are sick. Your last point hits home too – no one likes to be questioned. I’ve seen too many doctors who make it difficult for us to question them – I think there is a level of arrogance. “I’m the doctor, just do as I say.” Anyway, I’m thankful that I have found a great pediatrician for my son. She welcomes questions.

  4. You make a very good point about taking control of your health. The problem for me is that, as far as doctors are concerned, I feel as if I’m just choosing blindly. The choice is made based on whether or not they are covered by my health plan and if the location is convenient to my home. I find it difficult to comparison shop for doctors and since I know nothing about the medical field I feel a little outside of my element when making the decision. I’d like to find the perfect doctor that treats me and not my symptoms, but I’m not sure where to begin.

    • Great point with regards to not knowing where to start. After – “well, they are the professionals, they must know what they are doing” – that is the most likely reason we rely so heavily on the guidance of doctors. Maybe treat educating yourself about medicine the same way you have educated yourself about financial matters. That does not necessarily mean you will operate on yourself after reading a few books – like you might jump into buying your own mutual funds after a brief education – however, I believe most of us have access, via the Internet, to a significant amount of information to help us make more informed decisions. In some respects, I believe professionals in certain industries bank on our collective ignorance. They need us to need them – it only adds to their bottom line – and who likes to be questioned?

    • Thanks for your reply Kay & you’re totally correct in being in the dark when it comes to choosing the right doctor.
      James did bring up a good point though. Educating yourself in health matters is where it starts. My wife and I have remained healthy since 2009 without much help from doctors. This is the result of personal research, ignoring the govt. agencies ruling over health “care” in our country and recognizing the cause and effect relationship of our health choices.
      I honestly believe that YouTube, Google, http://www.vegweb.com & a few other sites have enough information to greatly decrease the need for a regular MD. Doctors do have their place….if I rupture a kidney I’ll be in the ER. But since finding a quality physician is so difficult to find, we need to become our own PCPs.

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