About a year ago I made a house call to an elderly widow which has left a lasting impact on me.
Our “trusting relationship” began twelve years earlier while I attended to her dying husband at home. She couldn’t find another doctor to come in to help. Now it was her turn to need help, and like her husband insisted that she stay at home. The woman was being cared for by her middle-aged granddaughter who remained her daily companion.
Both granddaughter and grandmother distrusted the health care industry and had formed many conspiracy theories. They believed in the power of healing through “the Lord” and natural remedies, especially vitamins. I admired their fierce independence while holding my tongue on the magical and, in my opinion, misinformed views of the science of medicine. Both tried, in vain, to convince me that I should use the vitamins and other products they endorsed for my patients. I smiled obligingly, yet made no move to implement these ideas while pondering the paradox and danger of being invited into the “trusting circle” of such divergent world views. Read more »