One of the most heartbreaking things I have to do, nearly every day now, is turn families away. I felt the pull again today to expand beyond my limits. The worst temptation being there is literally no one providing the type of care that I do that I can refer these families to. For children here where I live, it is either me or the standard of pediatric care. Which let’s face it, is truly awful. If you haven’t woke to this fact, you’re probably not following my blog anyways. When children cry at the urgent care, I hold true empathy around them. I tell them honestly, I hate going to the doctor too. And, what I actually mean is, I wouldn’t set foot in our current system of western medicine, unless I’m actively dying or bleeding to death and even then, I may check some other options first. I am disgusted by the white-coat paternalism of doctor versus patients I continue to witness. I use the word versus purposefully. The utter lack of mindfulness that our consumerist, pharma-driven medicine has become makes my heart ache and yet I trudge on.
So why not grow my private practice? Expand far enough to make room for everyone? Hire advanced practitioners to help with the clinical load? It is this simple. I am limited. The beautiful work of Shanti Zimmerman taught me this absolutely, fundamentally valuable lesson. I am limited. I am a human being living a physical existence and therefore, I am limited. There, I said it out loud. And boy howdy, do I feel how this flies in the face of so many of the narratives I have gathered over the years. From the dangerous western medicine sinkhole of working yourself to death, to the equally dangerous esoteric path to your “unlimited potential.” Nope. Double Nope. I am here to sing the praises of having the CLARITY of my limitations. What sweet relief it was to hear Shanti’s modern version of this concept. I love what I do, and what comes first, is my state of being. This is where my limits are dynamically decided. Over and over again, I return to myself to check in with respect and tenderness to how I am. If growth comes, it comes with respect to limits that can only be set by me with respect to what is happening right in this now. In the past my limits were the product of someone else’s narrative or equally powerful my transgenerational farmer trauma which quietly taught me I was only valuable if I worked until I collapsed.
I have experienced such deep healing over the past few years. I have witnessed my own autoimmune issues finally settling down into a relaxed and grounded nervous system. This is my priority. I heal from the inside out. This is what Western medicine is truly missing. Healthy physicians. So yes, it hurts to turn folks away, but understand if you have been turned away, it was the result of my hard-earned healing. It is what makes me the physician I am.
May my heartfelt no, make room for your own.
-Heather Kim, DO