Bedside Politics

I had a conversation with my chiropractor yesterday about Obamacare and personal responsibility for your own well-being.

It all began while I was just sitting there on that funky chair/bed thing he has in his office after the treatment. He was giving me kudos for coming back to see him even though my recent eruption of sciatica had all but disappeared. I was silently congratulating myself about the compliment he gave me.

He said, “I wish more people were like you.” (Big inside smile and positive self-talk, “Yay! I did good!”). “I wish more people would come in for maintenance and periodic adjustments so that they don’t get to the point where they need to come to see me.”

At that point, we were sympatico. I continued my inside smile which was maybe showing up on the outside too.

Then he hit me with the bomb: “That’s the problem with Obamacare.” (What?!?! Aren’t you supposed to stay away from politics with your patients and clients, especially those that you barely know?…Really, Noooooo! Don’t do it! Don’t go there!)

I awoke from my A-student daze and gazed up at him, apparently he confused my inside terror with a welcoming, tell-me-more vibe, because he told me more.  I have to admit, I was a little anxious at this point. (Please don’t go there. I like you. You just complimented me. Don’t say something stupid that I’m going to have to judge you for.)

He started with, “Now with Obamacare that covers everything…” Then he fixed it: “People wait until they are in pain and then go to their regular doctors for meds, tests and ultimately, surgery. If they would come to their chiropractors on a maintenance schedule, they probably wouldn’t get to the point where they even need the meds, tests, and surgery.” (OK: now we’re on to something. I deftly pivoted away from the politics. I really like my chiropractor and don’t want to have to hate him now.)

I said, “Well, it’s all about personal responsibility, isn’t it. I deal with a very similar situation as a breakup/divorce/co-parenting mediator. People would rather wait until the problem is too big and out of their hands, spending exorbitant amounts of resources and leaving their fate to a judge. When I remind them that if they choose to effectively communicate with their “ex,” and work to directly negotiate their desired outcome for themselves, they avoid spending their lives, their energy, their money, their health, and their well-being tied up with someone that they are trying to remove from their lives, which is exactly what happens when people wait until they are in pain.

So even though my chiropractor teetered on the edge of political correctness, we were really on the same page. (Sigh of relief!) When dealing with a brewing problem, something that’s a bit of a pain, you have a choice: you can intervene at that point and manage it with the least amount of resources (like a couple of chiropractic manipulations, biweekly healing massage, and a few minutes of daily yoga stretches)(or) (like schedule couples’ counselling, maybe even personal coaching for yourself, hire a mediator early on for a few hundred bucks to help both of you facilitate a desirable and relatively amicable ending) or you can do nothing, tell yourself you don’t have time to deal with it right now, blame anything and everything but yourself, try to ignore it, continue to be pissed at your ex, and end up resenting your them for whatever they did to you, and maybe even lying on a gurney awaiting an emergency discectomy.

Taking personal responsibility and addressing the issue head on is easier, quicker and significantly less expensive than waiting until it’s full blown, really painful and requires surgical excision with a long post-op recovery period.


Posted in Coaching
3 comments on “Bedside Politics
  1. Jan taylor says:

    Perfectly expressed!

  2. Steven Maass says:

    So true! The value of early intervention can be seen in everything. Yet so many of us simply choose to ignore the warning signs (“ignorance is bliss”) or cling to the belief that the situation will go away or resolve itself on its own. I am as guilty of that as anyone. Thanks for the great post — and the reminder that in-the-moment ignorance may be blissful, but the consequences of ignoring something are certainly not.

  3. Tammy Baldwin says:

    Two thumbs up! It’s so easy to fall into the path of least resistance only to realize it’s anything but and taking personal responsibility would have been so much more swift and ultimately gratifying!

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