Guest Post: Connie Rae on The Importance of Healing Language

I belong to a few chronic illness social forums, including one for people with multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). I invited members to write a guest post on the question I posed in my PFAM announcement: “Do you call yourself a ‘patient,’ and why or why not?”

I was delighted and intrigued by Connie Rae’s answer to the question, and she has graciously agreed to be my first guest blogger! Here is her post. Enjoy!

– Sharon

A light-skinned woman with gray hair wearing a straw hat and summer-weight lilac dress sits on a tree stump holding a baby goat pressed to herself. The goat is mostly white with a brown and black head. It is the size of a large cat. The sun is shining, and Connie is smiling widely.

Connie with one of her (goat) kids.

The Importance of Healing Language

These are important questions, and I believe, since hurting my back in the 1980s, key to recovery.

Doctors couldn’t help my two separate back injuries that led to me lying flat on my back in pain, using mostly herbals — as even then, medications had wild side effects (the doctors thought “normal”) — for almost a year. The first chiropractor had hurt me further and I wasn’t going to let another touch me!

I am glad I caved to a friend who visited.

I didn’t know what other chiropractors called their “patients,” but this one called us all “friends” . . . and other things if we didn’t follow his advice.

Many alternative practitioners call those they treat, “clients.” They give you a wellness plan and most clients don’t wait very long in the “reception” room (instead of “waiting room”). You also usually go in with pain and come out with a smile.

Medical people use a different language. If you go to chiropractors, acupuncturists, and other wellness professionals, most are careful to choose their words to heal and uplift. They follow through with it too, treating their clients more like friends, sometimes going to great lengths to figure out a problem, all the while trying to keep wellness visits to existing clients to a few minutes. If you are maintaining you don’t need as much care. If you are dis-eased you need TLC.

This is important healing language. I sure wouldn’t want the medical profession’s language to change to a healing language unless their methods came along with the language.

A chiropractor near us advertises this way:

Several years ago I made a decision to call those people who consulted us for care, “Clients.” In times past, those who went to a chiropractor would turn up and expect the chiropractor to work on them — they were “patients.”

A good chiropractor or wellness practitioner expects the client to participate in their recovery efforts. The chiropractor works on the clients with manipulation and relaxation, while the client works on the life-style changes the chiropractor suggests, sometimes supplements, diet, exercise, and many times, whatever spiritual discipline you do as this is key to wellness.

Through my chiropractor, I learned that food was medicine, how to apply my faith, how to make wellness fun, to focus on quality of life, and a whole lot of other things that helped when I was poisoned* and in the following years of re-injury. Some examples:

  • I am a Christian and went to a Christian chiropractor. He prayed with my husband and I. It is more of a holistic  approach than a symptom relief approach. I found it to be powerful once I found the right one. All are not equal. Many people don’t like the idea of manipulating bones and body parts, but I respond well to that.
  • You don’t put sugar in a gas tank and expect it to run. Quality of life is making sure you give yourself the right fuel and ingredients for a healthy life.
  • Whether you have a spiritual discipline or not there is Natural Law, and chiropractors encourage their clients to learn and know how that works. If you learn to work with your body the wellness practitioner has an easier job of healing the injury or dysfunction.

Unfortunately, for the past five years our personal economy has kept us from going to offices of wellness practitioners.

I never would call myself an “MCS patient.” I usually tell people I was poisoned and that as a result I have MCS. I’m not patient! (Though it is part of my faith and a discipline I strive to live, the chemicals steal that from me many times.) Instead, I say, “Hi, my name is Connie. I was poisoned with a termite pesticide in my home. I have MCS as a result.” It’s important to put the responsibility firmly on the toxic chemicals.

– Connie Rae

* Three weeks before my son’s wedding, we called an exterminator. I was poisoned with Dursban and organophosphate pesticide injected into the leaky foundation of our home; we found out later there were no sill plates to cap the concrete foundation. The professional exterminator should have known this. We were out of state for the wedding, and still the smell was in the house. The exterminator and Dow said it was unusual but suggested remediation techniques. All in all, I kept going back into the house, and the first poisoning was magnified and I developed MCS. No one believed me. They thought I was empty nesting in a strange way. My mother-in-law was the first to tell my husband to get me to a doctor. She saved my life.

Connie blogs and displays her gorgeous nature photography and life with MCS at Wild Canaray. She also blogs about her goat farm and how the goats have led to increased strength and wellness at The Daily Goat at Marley’s Run.

P.S. From Sharon – My own Patients for a Moment (PFAM) carnival post will go up soon, as well. The carnival, itself, is scheduled to go up Wednesday.

P.P.S. Did you enjoy this guest post? Would you like to see others? Questions or comments for Connie? Please leave her/us a comment! Thank you!

1 Response to “Guest Post: Connie Rae on The Importance of Healing Language”

  1. 1 Tim October 2, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    I have also noticed the power of applying a different lexicon to a certain activity. It can change your whole attitude, and therefore your results. Thanks for posting!

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