Some of us are old enough to have experienced such stressful times as the Cuban missile crisis, President Kennedy's assassination, Richard Nixon's resignation over Watergate, etc., plus several ups and downs in the financial markets.
In 1962 I was on the U.S.S. Alacrity, MSO 520, command ship of Mine Division 45. We were the squadron of minesweepers that cleared the mines out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to get the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Ranger out of the harbor during the Cuban missile crisis. I remember experiencing real fear when the commanding officer ordered me to take all of the ship's personnel files to the naval base hospital before we started clearing the harbor of mines. In case a mine blew our wooden ships into small splinters, the navy wanted to be able to identify all who had been aboard. I overheard an underwater demolition team (UDTs were the forerunners of the SEALs) officer say that even the best-trained sailors experienced fear, but it was the mark of a true sailor that resist it.
In the 1980s, when I practiced in West Central Minnesota farm country, I went through the financial crisis that brought agricultural land selling for $3,000 per acre down to $800 per acre. Farmers were coming in daily with severe depression, because they didn't know what the future held for them and their families. Some patients brought their shotguns to my office for safekeeping, just so they wouldn't be tempted to end their lives. I can't tell you how many hours I spent listening to my patients' fears, encouraging them and adjusting them, to relieve physical stress.
One week after the September 11 tragedy my company, Activator Methods, had 117 doctors of chiropractic registered for our Chicago seminar. Everyone in the country was very fearful, and the hotel said every other seminar had been canceled. The staff at our international headquarters, located in Phoenix, Arizona, and I made the final decision to have the seminar, after one of our instructors called and said he was willing to drive eight hours to teach the program. Two other instructors also said they would be willing to drive.
I made my decision not only because we could get our instructors there, but also knowing the makeup of chiropractors; I just knew in my heart that the attendees would not be intimidated by a bunch of cowardly terrorists. Out of the 117 pre-registered doctors, 110 attended the seminar.
My message to you as a clinician is that you play a very important role during this period of great fear. People look to their doctors for encouragement and stability. It is your job to not let them down. If history repeats itself, most chiropractic practices will explode during these stressful times. If your practice is not mushrooming, you may not be meeting your patients' needs. I have always called chiropractors the "Israelis" of the health professions; we are used to being terrorized. Now is the time to show our courage and bring physical health and emotional encouragement to the patients who so badly need to lean on you. Remain strong, and you will be doing your part to keep America strong.
God bless America, and "keep your powder dry."
Click here for previous articles by Arlan Fuhr, DC.