Friday, March 19, 2010

Consulting Tips - Don't Miss the Obvious

I learned a good lesson about #5 (see previous post) when I had a recent bout with allergies. I am severely allergic to molds. Although I can tolerate small amounts (due to my healthy diet and herbal therapy years ago) and short term exposure I get very ill when exposed to them in an intense or frequent way. This is usually easy to avoid. I don't sleep in basements, I wear a mask when cleaning the bathroom and am careful to check the house for molds and use vinegar on areas that need "cleaning up". Sometimes I will even employ the help of a friend if I find a large patch. I wear a mask when raking moldy leaves in the Autumn and Spring and don't usually worry about the problem very much at all. After all - how often will you be exposed to mold without realizing it?

That is why I didn't even consider mold as the culprit when I became ill during a trip four weeks ago and during another trip 2 weeks ago. During both trips I assumed that perhaps I was feeling overworked, my nerves were tense from the anticipation of travel and perhaps it had made me more sensitive to things in general. That can happen. During times of great stress a person can actually be allergic to things they were never allergic to before or their old allergies can increase in severity. Sometimes I sneak in a bit of junk food when healthier food is not available on the road and perhaps I reacted to one of the additives? Or perhaps it was the hotel room?

However, the intensity of the "attacks" confused me. My diet was good. I was not exposing myself to many allergens, I wasn't feeling very anxious. I was actually feeling very relaxed and at peace. And, I had not eaten any differently than I usually do at home. So why was I having these sudden allergy attacks?

I made the cats sleep in another room for a few nights, I avoided all things I was even slightly allergic or sensitive too, I took herbal teas and homeopathic remedies. And I was fine. Until I went to an Irish Concert last weekend. It was very confusing. I was completely fine and then somewhere in-between my home and the concert I had been exposed to something. What could it have been? I had been so careful? And how could I go from feeling perfect to so severely disabled in ten minutes? What could cause such devastation?

It was driving me crazy...

(there is a hint in that last line)

Have you figured it out yet?

I didn't.

It was not until my friend said the following words that it all made sense:

"I'm sorry my car is probably not making it any better with that musty smell in it."

Suddenly everything became clear. My attacks had coincided perfectly with the three times I had rode in their "new" used car! We tested the theory for the next week (by avoiding the car and using mine) and I was completely cured.

It had not occurred to me that the ventilation system in the car could be so filled with molds. However, it was. And many cars are. I felt so silly for missing "the obvious". It also taught me a lesson - don't ever assume or leave any stone unturned. Even if you have never had trouble with something before, don't leave that out of your detective radar. The problem could be in your clothing, your car, your pet, your diet, even a new appliance. Make sure you search well and don't miss the solution that is sitting right in front of you.

If not for that chance comment by my friend I might still be baffled about it to this day. However, I am certainly going to start including this question in some of the forms my clients fill out now - especially if they drive a lot or commute to work. I'll add that question after the question that says "What kind of water to you shower in?" (to see if they have a lot of chlorine exposure).

The Importance of Taking the Health History

I was on the phone the other day with a client. We spoke for almost an hour about her child. In addition to that hour she had sent me a few e-mails with descriptions of him as well as a 28-report by a child psychologist which was very impressive! After all this information, though, I still felt something was missing. It was a bit like looking at a large puzzle and realizing one of the pieces are missing. It is almost done...but not quite. Then I decided to go a little farther back into his health history. I askedm "Did he have any health problems as a baby?"

"Well, yes," she replied, "He did have eczema but not as much any more."

As I pursued this new "lead" it emerged that he had struggled with eczema his entire life and that she had used and was still using hydrocortizone creams as his only "cure". In addition, he had never been tested for allergies.

What amazed me is that this essential piece of evidence had not been shared with her local doctor or naturopath and was not anywhere in the 18-page report. It was essential to her child's healing and provided a major reason for the health issues she was complaining of and yet it had never been considered. Hopefully, with the real culprit behind his health issues unmasked he can now start on the road to healing.

However, it is not by any fault of the mother that this information was not shared before or connected to his present condition. Even the most perceptive healer can sometimes miss the obvious. To make sure you don't miss the obvious do the following:

1. Follow the client intake form provided for you in the Consulting Unit. Add to this form as needed and make it yours.

2. Make sure you ask about the health history of the client and use their answers as a clues to what additional questions you should be asking.

3. Don't accept short answers. Make sure you get details on everything.

4. Don't make assumptions. I almost missed the eczema connection with this client because I assumed she had included everything important in the forms she had already sent me. After all the forms were so complete! I couldn't imagine she would have left something out. As it turns out she simply did not answer one of the questions in very good detail or didn't think this answer applied to the current situation.

5. Explore everything and leave no "stone unturned". See my next post for some details on this.