Health Problems? How to Feel Inspired, Empowered, Uplifted and Hopeful in 5 Minutes Flat

By Mary Jaksch

If you’ve ever struggled with ill health, you’ll know how disempowered a visit to a surgery or hospital can make you feel. If you’re accompanied by a friend or family member, doctors will often turn to them to ask, “How is she feeling?” – as if we’re not even in the room!

Health activist, Dave deBronkart, says: “Patient is not a third-person word!” Talking of Dave, he’s a extraordinary guy who found out that he was suffering from terminal renal cancer and was looking at a median life expectancy of twenty-four weeks. That was four years ago!

If you want to be totally inspired and excited – watch the TED video with Dave deBronkart below. He is at the forefront of a health revolution, called e-Patient where patients take back power – and help each other find treatments online. This is a do-not-miss video!

(If you’re reading this by email, click here to access the video.)

And a little story …

When my mother had already lost half her marbles, I took her to a restaurant here in New Zealand. I guided her to the table but she shrugged off my arm. Then we sat down.  The waitress ignored my mother and asked me what my mother would like.

My mother drew herself up to her full height (which wasn’t much) and asked in an imperious tone:

“Are you asking my daughter what I might like to order?”
The waitress blushed and a hush fell in the restaurant.
Everyone looked at at us. (I studied the tablecloth).
Then I said nervously, “Er … Mummy… I think the waitress was just trying to – ”
My mother waived me aside, “Please don’t interrupt, Mary!”
Then she addressed the hapless waitress in her impeccable Oxford diction, “If you would like to know what I would like to order, please look at me and not at any one else. I’m PERFECTLY capable of knowing my own mind, thank you!”

The waitress scuttled away, red-faced.

My mother used to do a similar dance with doctors when they tried to talk about her in the third person when others were present. They only ever did it once…

What’s your experience of health care, losing your power – and getting it back?

Related Posts by Mary Jaksch
How to Fight Your Way Back to Health after A Bad Diagnosis: 11 Crucial Tips
Video:How Exercise Can Help You Heal [Video]


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  1. Kyle says:

    When I began showing signs of mental illness I started to see psychiatrists and psychologists for help. It was my first exposure to the mental health field and I was amazed at how I wasn’t treated individually. Psychiatrists prescribe medications that either create symptoms that make you feel worse or make life bland and boring. Psychologists’ main goal is to get you back into society regardless of how you’re feeling because they realize they only get paid if there are results. Yet, both professionals do help some and I’ve found additiional guidance in religion and spirituality.
    Kyle´s last blog post ..Epicurus

  2. tari says:

    thank you so much for daves TED video. my husband suffers from sometimes acute and always chronic back pain and we finally found Rolfing to be of great help, but it was our research, not any doctor! thanks so much and i enjoy your blog. Ciao!
    tari´s last blog post ..Celebration of Now

  3. Brenda says:

    I am feeling extremely frustrated with the medical system. I have been through a few doctors over the years looking for a solution to my back pain and thyroid problems, plus some stomach issues. I have noticed that doctors have very big egos and they don’t like patients being assertive or sticking up for themselves. One time I even had a doctor start screaming at me on the phone when I was questioning the treatment. And that was a natural healing type doctor. Once I went to a pain management doctor. I thought they would specialize in finding solutions to pain but really he was just a drug dealer………of prescription pain pills. Once I ended up being a patient of a place that is now shut down and entering into a major court case because they were caught reusing tubes and needles during testing when a series of people starting coming down with new illnesses. They were suppose to be “specialists” but stomach issues but yet it seemed they didn’t know about things I had read about the basics of the digestive system. I often find doctors start to “squirm” when I tell them I read this or that. They don’t like patients to be informed because it might make them look less smart if they don’t know how to comment. Or they give an answer back but when you think about what they said they really didn’t say anything at all. But yet they charge big bucks for there services. They have big fancy offices and we do pay for them. I feel as though it is big business but they really don’t care about me. So the idea of patients being a part of the solution, as stated in the video, sounds good but I’m not sure how that works when the doctors don’t even want to listen to us. I did like the video however and I feel we as patients do need to be more assertive. There is a fine line between being disrespectful of the doctor and pushing to see what they are really made of. So I’m not quite sure how what he was talking about works. I would much rather have a doctor who if they didn’t know something would just admit it but then being willing to work with me in trying to understand it or find solutions. At least this would show they care and want to learn more. I am to the point now where I think I could put together a more comprehensive regiment for myself after all the reading I have done than any doctor ever will. (like he talks about in the video….do your own research) But there are some things we can’t do on our own, like ordering certain tests or offering certain treatments. The bottom line is if the doctor won’t work with us then it is time to find a new doctor. Stop rewarding bad behavior with our dollars.

  4. Mary, my own mother just complained to me about this very problem. She’s 82 next month and has ALL her marbles, yet doctors continue to speak about her, in the 3rd person, to my sister, right in front of her. It’s not just bad medicine, it’s bad manners. Good for your mum that she spoke up to that waitress!
    Linda Gabriel´s last blog post ..Brain Wave Basics – What You Need to Know about States of Consciousness

  5. Marianne says:

    Thanks for sharing this timely Ted Talk with Dave deBronkart. Just yesterday I found the RA Warrior website that Dave mentions when I did a google search for “cure rheumatoid arthritis”. From her website I learned about e-patient. This is a wonderful movement that I’m happy to see. Like Dave says, it’s time to empower patients by letting us help.
    Marianne´s last blog post ..What’s Miracle Mama Up To?

  6. Sophia says:

    I just found Warrior website i wanted to try this.I feel as though it is big business but they really don’t care about me. So the idea of patients being a part of the solution, as stated in the video, sounds good but I’m not sure how that works when the doctors don’t even want to listen to us.i guess Psychologists goal is to heal people who have illness and make there life back into track.
    Sophia´s last blog post ..Stop Spending and Start Investing

  7. Ashley says:

    I love the video very much.. Thanks for the post. 🙂
    Ashley´s last blog post car insurance

  8. Not only that this video is inspirational, it is both interesting and highly informative. After watching the video, I learned a lot from it and it made a huge impact in my life. Thanks to you Mary for sharing it.

    Everyone lets support Mr. Dave! “Let Patients Help”. God bless us all!
    Antonette @ Travel Wisconsin´s last blog post ..tavor gun

  9. Mary, I really appreciate you watching it and sharing it. At some point or the other, everyone will become a patient. Your article and the Video are inspirational and I did learn a lot from them.
    Lalitha Brahma´s last blog post ..What Prompted Me To Learn Techniques To Process Negative Emotion?

  10. sapir says:

    great video! interesting article..
    sapir´s last blog post ..Lose Weight Easily

  11. Dianna says:

    Wow!The video is nice i keep repeat watching those,i am so glad that i found this article this mean a lot to me i learn something new.thanks for sharing!
    Dianna´s last blog post ..Choosing Friends Wisely

  12. Anna says:

    Hi Mary, really interesting info. from my experience the power always come and go, and I can’t really control it…
    Anna´s last blog post ..How to attract the right man

  13. jim says:

    well for certain is the power of positive thinking that has shown wonders for uplifting and help to move forward to healing.Great post Mary. 🙂
    jim´s last blog post ..whirlypets

  14. Shahar says:

    I had panic attacks 3 years ago – I tried taking psychiatric pills which trashed my digestion and made me more frightened. With a friend’s advice I stopped taking the pills slowly after taking them for almost a year and half. Slowly, I got out of it without psychologists and psychiatrists and started learning Kabbalah but not the Madonna style with all the the rubbish but a reasonable and educational one.
    Thank you.
    Shahar´s last blog post ..Two people in one room…or two…

  15. I love that story about your mother. Good for her for standing up for herself! It’s a shame that when we get old enough, we get treated like little children.
    Clingspiration´s last blog post ..Inspirational Quote | Be Strong

  16. Anita says:

    Hi Mary, thank you so much for sharing this great video. I wish I had heard about it before. I was in tears after watching it.
    I enjoyed your mother’s story too 🙂
    Anita´s last blog post ..Kitchen Makeover Ideas

    • Doris says:

      I am Doris,from what I can read. It has been sad news and scam to everyone about Voodoo casters or so. But to me they are so real cause one worked for me not quite two weeks.i met this man on a blog his name is irumonle oduakar is a very powerful man.I traveled down to where his shrine his and we both did the ritual and sacrifice. and now me and my ex are living very ok now.I don’t know about you but Voodoo is real;love marriage,finance, job promotion ,lottery Voodoo,poker voodoo,golf Voodoo,Law & Court case Spells,money voodoo,weigh loss voodoo,diabetic voodoo,hypertensive voodoo,high cholesterol voodoo,Trouble in marriage,Barrenness(need a child),Luck, Money Spells,it’s all he does. I used my money to purchase everything he used he never collected a dime from. He told me I can repay him anytime with anything from my heart. Now I don’t know how to do that. If you can help or you need his help write him on ( Thank you.

  17. Lorarian89 says:

    wow…what an amazing stories…you guys are heroes 🙂
    Lorarian89´s last blog post ..דיוור אלקטרוני/ ניוזלטר

  18. sapir says:

    i love this video! thanks!
    sapir´s last blog post ..Lose Weight Easily

  19. Buy LN46C630 says:

    It is nice that the health problems and treating patients as third persons are being discussed and talked about. I hope that the health care would be changed for the benefit of the patients. As for your story with the waitress and your mother, it is a good thing that your mother stood up for herself. And I hope that the waitress wouldn’t do it to another customer.


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