By Dr. Deborah Rothman
I drove 12+ hours to visit my kids in Chicago for the weekend. They finally felt comfortable enough to allow us to visit. I was ecstatic to be able to spend time with my children and grandchildren after such a long COVID-related hiatus. I still miss my children in Israel terribly, and it may be some time until we can see each other. In the interim, FaceTime will have to suffice. These are the new times and what we have to deal with. While it was truly an incredible weekend, it’s never enough. I know I’m blessed, and grateful as a result, but I wish I could see them every day.
In the office, I consider myself somewhat of a techie. Over the years, I’ve worked continuously to ensure that we are operating on advanced systems. All appointments are through our high-tech online scheduling system. It enables us to easily view our schedule and modify when necessary, while also allowing patients the freedom to book their own appointments via our website. It has an automated text and email reminder for all appointments. Additionally, we work off advanced EHR (electronic health records), which are HIPAA compliant. Our system allows us to upload bloodwork, MRI reports, etc., that can be viewed easily within the patient’s virtual folder, which allows me to flip back to previous treatments just by clicking so I can see the progress.
Over the years, I have come to the realization that if I am advanced and organized with my day-to-day systems, it allows me more freedom to focus on patient care. That is a priority to me, and I am confident my patients appreciate it.
This weekend was quite the contrary. I felt like I was living the expression, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks!” It was as if I had stepped forward into the future, into the Jetsons’ world, as my generation would resonate with. My kids and their millennial generation love their gadgets! They look for every shortcut and technological advancement to make things faster, easier, and more fun. My daughter talks to Alexa. She asks Alexa to play her music and take care of various minor tasks. After Shabbos ended, my daughter set her Roomba vacuum cleaner to work. I couldn’t get over how it did a better job weaving in and out of the dining-room chair legs than I would have done sweeping.
Since we had eaten healthy food over Shabbos, we decided to indulge a little and order pizza. It’s been a long time since I ate pizza and, to be quite frank, it wasn’t that great. The famous Chicago pizza was a disappointment. My daughter and son-in-law then started talking about how they were in the mood for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Mind you, it was pouring rain and I couldn’t imagine anyone heading out. They said, “Watch this. We’ll just order on this app. It will be here in less than 15 minutes.”
This was news to me, as even Amazon Prime isn’t that fast! So of course, we challenged them. I just had to see this. We opened up the app and proceeded to order three pints of Ben & Jerry’s. If you are having fun you might as well go all out! I simply did not believe such a timely delivery was even in the realm of possibility, so we proceeded to line up three different cellphones. One was monitoring the processing and packing of the order, as well as when it was en route to us. A second phone had been set up as a timer and started as soon as we placed the order. A third phone was zoomed into the camera on the Ring doorbell so we could see if anyone pulled up in front of the house, even before they rang the bell. Did I mention that it was literally pouring rain during this time, which should have slowed things down? We had so much fun laughing and betting on when they would arrive. Believe it or not, our yummy frozen ice cream was delivered in 12 minutes. That’s correct — 12 minutes. It would have taken longer for me to find an umbrella, drive to the closest store open so late at night, and buy it myself!
During those 12 minutes we Googled the company. We were able to find out that the goPuff delivery service was created by two college students seven years ago and now earns over a billion dollars. I was so tempted to order various items just to see if it would come that fast again! However, it was now after 11 p.m., and I was in the middle of a major sugar rush. After all, I had just consumed loads of peanut butter, brownies, cookie dough, and whatever else is included in those heavenly pints. I figured I had enough and should turn in for the night.
The sugar rush got me thinking about how fast-paced our lives are and how automated everything is. Almost anything can be had for a fee, and with great speed. We have become impatient as a result. We expect answers and solutions at the snap of a finger, similar to a young child throwing a temper tantrum who wants what he wants, and wants it now!
Saturday night was definitely some of the most fun I have had lately, especially considering quarantine, being sick from COVID-19, reopening a practice … But this led me to look at how this contradicted everything I believe in so strongly and exercise in my practice every day.
Chinese medicine has been around for over 4,000 years because it works! Acupuncture builds on itself, and thus consistent treatment is needed when beginning treatment on a new patient. It is nice when a patient has almost immediate improvement. However, the norm is that with a series of treatments, the individual will have long-lasting improvement. We all crave instant gratification; however, when dealing with the mystery of our mind–body connection, as well as both treating and preventing illness, the body is often a conundrum. It has many layers that must be understood and peeled away in order to get to the root of the disease. It is definitely not something that can be ordered on an app and guaranteed for delivery in less than 15 minutes!
My personal lesson over this weekend was pretty black-and-white. Have fun with the digital age for the ease of obtaining material things. When it comes to your mental and physical well-being, however, be prepared to stay the course. The true magic happens in providing long-lasting results. Enjoy the climb on your wellness journey; you will reap the benefits. The head rush of achieving wellness will last a lot longer than a yummy but short sugar rush!
Dr. Deborah Rothman is a doctor of acupuncture and Chinese medicine, as well as a Diplomate of Acupuncture. She is in private practice and runs a wellness center in Lawrence, offering a complete solution for all your health and wellness needs. She can be reached at 516-203-4500 or Deborah@AcuZen.com. Please visit AcuZen.com and follow AcuZen Wellness Center on Facebook and Instagram.