I’ve been quiet lately.
For the past 3 months or so, no emails, no blogs, no monthly newsletters. And barely any Facebook posts or Tweets.
I haven’t given up on technology or social media. I’ve been doing other work. Actually, I’ve been studying.
And getting together with groups of other herbalists – there’s a growing community here, you know.
And I’ve spent lots of weekends with my grandbaby, who’s now almost a year old! Here she is:
For a while, I wondered if I’d run out of things to say about herbs. But there’s been plenty of inspiration lately.
In fact, my patients are responding to their herbs so well that my patient schedule is filling up. That’s great news for my practice.
Not all the news is rosy
But, to be completely honest with you, not every patient is doing as well as I hoped.
Like LouAnn, who suffers from painful arthritis and persistent fatigue.
LouAnn’s been coming to see me for a year, but around 6 months ago, her progress started to level off. When this happens, sometimes it’s because the patient has gotten tired of taking herbs and constantly having to monitor their health habits and practices.
It’s hard to blame people for slacking off. Getting healthy when you’ve been struggling with chronic illness can be a chore. A serious uphill climb. It’s like a full-time job with no vacation.
But LouAnn takes her personal health seriously. She never takes a day off from the herbal and lifestyle plan we put together.
Definitely not a quitter.
No one to blame
But something happened. She stopped improving. For a month or two, whenever she visited me, we’d try to sort out why no changes were happening.
“Did you stop taking your herbs?” No.
“Has your life been extra stressful lately?” No, not particularly.
“Are you still exercising?” Yep, still at it.
Does that ever happen to you?
Do you ever feel like just when you have a grasp on something, you have to return to the basics and re-learn what you thought you knew?
It was so tempting to take her ‘lack of progress’ personally.
Digging deep for answers
But instead of pointing fingers or just accepting that she’d stalled out for no good reason, I realized she wouldn’t magically get better with time. This would take some extra effort outside of her appointments. Time I was spending posting, emailing and writing.
I set her patient file aside and in my shrinking spare time, instead of blogging about a cool herbal remedy, I dug deep into my herbal resources – professional books, textbooks, practitioner guides and Chinese Medicine philosophy – for answers.
And it’s starting to pay off.
Studying patients like LouAnn, with complicated health histories and unusual symptom patterns, makes me question my assumptions. And in the end, it rearranges what I understand about ALL of my patients.
Fortunately, my patients don’t mind becoming a case study. Unfortunately, other things I really like to do, those blogs and newsletters, have to be put aside for a while.
I’m glad my practice is attracting patients with more complex concerns.
Otherwise, my clinical skills might get a little stale.
I might start to think I know everything.
I might stop trying so hard.
Today, I’m back to blogging just long enough to tell you that I’m still here.
I’ve just been a little quiet lately. Questioning my assumptions.
Sharpening my herbalist skills.
Thanks for hanging in there with me…
Related post: Are You Listening Or Just Waiting Your Turn?