“Wow, you really are healthy!”
You may remember Mark, the massage therapist I wrote about here who is working miracles on my lower back pain. I’ve been seeing him roughly weekly and things are getting SO much better. Not perfect yet, but it is such sweet relief. Anyway, I wanted to share an experience I had with him at a recent appointment.
It was the first day of school, and I had an 8:00am appointment. I was joking with him about that being “too early” because I am usually getting out of bed around 8:00 (I never have clients who want to have appointments earlier than about 10). But, I continued, it would be okay because I was headed to my Seattle office, which is at a church where the pastor has a free latte stand for the community in the mornings so I could get a latte. The rest of the conversation went something like this:
Him: I’ve never liked coffee myself, though
Me: actually I don’t much either. I don’t like black coffee at all, and the caffeine really affects me so I hardly ever drink espresso drinks and when I do they’re decaf
Him: I know my daughter’s teachers are always saying they can’t get their day started without a latte
Me: Yeah, I am glad that I’m not dependent on caffeine! I mean, occasionally I’ll feel like I want a kick, but then I’ll just have black or green tea
Him: Wow, you really are healthy! I don’t like tea either.
I was a bit stunned, because apart from psychotherapists, I have never had my choices called “healthy” by anyone in health care.
I’ve had health care providers of all stripes, from massage therapists to general doctors to specialists criticize the behaviors they assumed I was engaging in and disbelieve me when I told them about my eating/moving habits. I’ve had them smile and say condescendingly, “that’s good! Why don’t you just try adding one more day a week to your gym routine?”
Never has anyone in this field responded to my choices of what to put in my body or what to do with my body by calling me, or those choices, “healthy.” It was so … encouraging. So joyful. I felt so affirmed and respected.
I don’t want to get into healthism here, because I am certainly the first to say that I believe we have no moral obligation to be healthy. But it’s nice that when I do try to make choices that are healthy for my body and soul, that someone providing health care for me would acknowledge that. It was a breath of fresh air.
And that’s not even the only thing I want to share here about our work together, but I’ll save the other piece for another entry. I’m all about the short-medium posts lately.