I am admittedly no radiologist and have had no formal training in reading X-Rays, but I do
know ribs should be in one piece. I forwarded my X-Rays to several friends who are
trained in radiology and to read X-Rays. It was confirmed that there were 5 fractures in 3
ribs with one break being “displaced fracture” with significant danger of the broken rib
ends puncturing my lung. I was advised to go immediately to the ER at any sigs of
shortness of breath and to completely avoid activity, lifting, exercise, and even twisting. A
pneumothorax of this nature is very dangerous requiring hospitalization, chest tubes, and
Five days later (not 48 hours), I finally got a call from the urgent care with the
“You have a rib fracture.” I was told by the office staff.
Waiting for her to comment on which ribs, the severity, precautions and suggestions, I
finally asked, “Is there anything else you want to tell me?”
“No.” She replied
“So there is nothing else I should know about this?” I said now slightly amazed and
amused at the complete lack of information, cautionary advice, or suggested follow up.
“No, that’s all. Bye.”, she said.
I wanted to share this true story with you because I am quite certain, had I listened to the
MD on the day I got my X-Rays, I would have soon returned to my normal exercise and
activity assuming there was no need for additional caution, which probably would have
resulted in a pneumothorax. Had I not questioned that doctor’s findings, I assume I would
have ended up in the hospital with a broken rib sticking in my lung.
So what’s the moral of the story?
Be your own health advocate! No one will look out for your health better than you (except
for me of course!). Be willing to question what you are told. Honor what you feel. Seek
out a second (or third opinion) if the first you get just doesn’t seem right.
Many of my clients come to my office because they have been to all the other doctors and
now have nowhere else to turn. They have been to a variety of specialists, tried all sorts
of medications and therapies and still don’t feel any better. Many patients have been told
by their western practitioners that there is nothing wrong with them. Many of these
patients have been prescribed antidepressants because the MDs assume that the
patients’ complaints are in their head. It has been my experience that some MDs will first
question the validity of the patient’s symptoms (and sanity) before they question the
completeness and accuracy of the diagnostic methods they are using. It has also been
my experience that sometimes these authorities and doctors are simply wrong (as with my
I am sure all health care practitioners truly do the best they can do. I believe, for the most
part, that health care providers are trying to help others and do have a sincere desire to
help their patients and avoid harm. Each practitioner, whether trained in Eastern or
Western medicine can only understand ailments to the extent of our training and
experiences. But remember…all forms of medicine have limitations. All forms of medicine
have strengths and weaknesses. As a result, remember that regardless of what type of
healthcare practitioner you go to you will only be getting one view, and one way looking at
health, pathology, and treatment. You health and ailment can only be understood the
extent of your practitioners understanding of health and that specific ailment. It is all truly
very limited. And of course, we are all human and capable of making mistakes.
This is why it is essential for you be your own health advocate. Your experiences are
your experiences regardless if they fit nicely into the paradigm of a particular discipline of
medicine or not. I encourage you to truly get in touch with your body and mind and be
aware of how these functions in times of health and disease or ailments. I promise the
more you can advocate for yourself, the more you can ask questions, the more you can
learn and get information from your health care practitioners, the safer and more
knowledgeable you will be to make the best informed decision regarding your health.
Okay, maybe the jump wasn’t as big as I initially described.
Also, that is definitely not an image of me… or West Virginia.
Be Your Own Health Advocate!
…or you will end up with a pneumothorax!
Articles & Facts
From The Center: Natural Health Specialists
Article by Quinn Akira Takei, Licensed Acupuncturist, Doctor of
Oriental Medicine(NM) with The Center: Natural Health
Here is an image of me on a recent snow
boarding trip with some friends in West Virginia.
While doing a spinning triple flip off the highest
jump on the steepest quadruple black diamond
run, my board came out from under me as I
lunched myself into the air…. and then I not so
gracefully landed on my side. On impact, I heard
a delightful variety of crunching sounds
accompanied by significant pain. I knew right
away I broke some ribs.
As soon as I got back to Raleigh the next day, I
went to the closest open urgent care. The MD
felt my ribs and agreed to the X-Ray I requested.
After reviewing the films, the MD said there were
no broken bones and everything was fine. Quite
surprised to hear this (because I could feel bones
clicking and moving in my chest), I request copies
of the X-Rays. I was given a CD with the images.
The MD told me that the X-Rays would be
reviewed by their radiology doctor and they would
get back to me within 48 hours. I left with no
discharge instructions or words of caution.