The woman on the other end of the telephone is crying. Between sobs, she says, “Thank you for looking out for my adult son, Dylan. When he told me that he was not feeling well, I ignored him–his complaints. He felt something was wrong with his body, but he complains so much of the time that I did not listen to him. I didn’t believe him.”
Dylan has been attending my yoga classes for some time. As part of the requirement to check-in with the instructor at the beginning of class with health concerns, Dylan had mentioned to me that he felt there was something going on with his body, though he did not know what. He wanted me to know that whatever it was seemed to impact his sense of balance.
“Have you seen a physician?” I asked at the time.
“The physician treats me like I am a complainer…like it is all in my head. He is not hearing me,” Dylan responds.
After several classes. Dylan and I talk about his balance issues.
“Dylan, I think you need to go back to the doctor and become your own best advocate. Tell the physician that there is something wrong and that it is showing up here in class as a serious balance issue.
“Remember that, to some extent, the physician’s hands are tied on the issue of ordering more tests because, without additional ‘evidence,’ he cannot justify ordering more tests to the insurance company. But this additional information from class should help you,” I attempt to reassure him.
Dylan is not in yoga for a few weeks. Then, suddenly, he reappears. After another set of class absences, Dylan comes back to yoga class with a diagnosis. And, a few days later, Dylan’s mother calls to extend her gratitude for my encouraging Dylan to listen to his body and advocate for himself.