This post is more than an opinion. It is personal.
Yesterday, I asked my husband to give me some ideas about what I should write next in my blog. I told him, “Think of things that I always talk about”. He started by saying things like, “The way people drive”, etc and I thought, nah, only people in L.A. will care about reading that. (I am now however thinking about writing something about it later, just for my LA peeps). I needed something bigger. Then he said the magic word: doctors. Just this week, I had just had a long conversation with a lady who explained to me her and her family’s experience with doctors. It was such a sad story and I felt so much sympathy for her. We both agreed that doctors just don’t listen. Below, you will see what else I think doctors do and do not do.
Let me start by saying that I believe that anyone who has the privilege to be a doctor, should do whatever in his power to use his position and skills to better people, not make them worse. As a general rule, if you decide to get a degree or train for a particular job, it should be because you want to contribute to our society in a positive way, not because you want to make a lot of money. I get very frustrated when I hear young people say they want to be lawyers or doctors because it makes a lot of money. I believe that their good income is deserved, yes, as a reward for their long course of study and their special skills, but it should also be because they are bringing the PEOPLE relief or help. Do not get me wrong, I know that many people want to become doctors because they want to help people. I do not doubt that their initial intentions are good. The problem we have here is the way our medical and pharmaceutical industries function.
In the old days, things were much simpler and revolved more about being healthy than money. I still remember how our family doctor took care of everything. We rarely went to see specialist. General practitioners were so much better than they are now. They also made house calls which of course now does not exist anymore for obvious reasons (more money is made from calling 911 or going to the ER: hospitals, doctors, EMT, so many fees). Let’s be honest here and come out and say it, the problem is money. Think about it. In the old days, yes we waited a long time at the doctor’s office, but that was because doctors took their time. It wasn’t really abnormal to spend more than 30mn, going through a thorough check and then discussing options with our trusted doctor. He always remembered who we were, didn’t need to look at his chart and never rushed us out because he was running behind. People waiting were understanding because they knew they were going to get their problem resolved and get the best care they could get.
Pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies are probably the main reason why things are so much more complicated, less efficient, less personal, more costly, and honestly not as good as what they once were. It’s not just about convenience, it’s about quality. While, there are some doctors who only care about money, most doctors want to try to do what is best for their patients but often cannot because of the 2 evil giants that control them (make that 3 if you include restriction and guidelines from medical boards). I have a doctor like that. She apologizes every time I see her because she cannot spend a lot of time talking to me. She times her visits and I therefore often leave with questions unanswered, making my visit unsatisfying. She, however, pockets my money everytime, regardless of how satisfied I am. Very often, there will be a pharmaceutical representative sitting in the waiting room, patiently sitting there, their suitcase at his feet, ready to give his sales pitch about some new drugs they want my doctor to prescribe me. This is all a very elaborate plan. They give samples to the doctors. Doctors give samples to the patients. Patients agree because, well, samples are free (and we all know how expensive prescription drugs are). If they like the sample, then they will most likely ask their doctor for more. Who will profit from this? Everyone? No, wait, if you think that patients are actually benefiting too because they end up having a good drug that will take care of their problem, think again. First of all, medicine exist to treat symptoms. It is not a cure. Let me repeat that. IT IS NOT A CURE. It covers symptoms, make them disappear for a while maybe but the minute you stop taking it, whatever your problem was often comes back, sometimes right away, sometimes months or years later. Yes, that includes antibiotics too. Doctors prescribe antibiotics as if it was Halloween candy. Antibiotics do not kill viruses and yet most doctors will prescribe them anyways. Sometimes it is just to please the patient. People need to realize how useless it is to go to the doctor when they have a cold or the flu (flu shots are another way for pharmaceutical companies to make money). We need to realize and re-learn that our body are well capable of healing itself for most problems. One of the many benefits of letting the body do its magic is that symptoms will not return.
Watch this movie, it’s funny and is a pretty accurate portrayal of pharmaceutical rep:
I was lucky. I had an amazing doctor when I was a kid. He saved my life once, came to my bedside when I could not breathe, giving me a lifesaving shot and rushing me to the hospital. He was caring, loving and to this day, I am so thankful for everything he did for me and my family. My husband also had an amazing doctor. I know some of you probably remember your childhood doctor too. I have yet to meet anyone with the same compassion and listening skills. See, doctors do not listen anymore. They might hear us, but they do not listen. I have way too many stories about doctors missing or ignoring important symptoms, thinking they already have the answer. “Here, take this pill and be on your way”, they say, only for you to return a few weeks later with the same problem or a new problem which might have been caused by the first pill you were prescribed. Again, the fact that doctors are on a deadline because of the pressure they feel from the Two Giants is a reason but what they learned in medical school is actually probably more to blame. As I started to discuss before, medical students learn to treat symptoms, not the root of the problem. Western medicine is not our friend. I sincerely believe it is one of our worst enemies. Rarely a doctor will tell you to eat healthier, etc (they might even recommend bad food, ie scolding kids who do not drink milk or vegetarian because of protein). It is much easier for them to prescribe a pill for your cholesterol than to sit and explain and try to convince you that if you would just stop eating junk, your body might have a chance to regulate itself. Doctors of course have huge liability. I can understand why doctors take the easy route. Doctors are not all to blame. Our media, our modern society driven by capitalism, having more and more things, eating more (do we really need the portions that provide us our daily recommended amount of calories in one meal??), sleeping less (overworked society), stressing more ( failing economy, etc) are only a few examples of things that just drive us to take the easy way out, take the pill the doctor prescribed or worst yet, self-medicate, drink a glass of wine, smoke a cigarette, etc. Medical school today I am sure is not what it is used to be 50 or 100 years ago. Progress and technology bring us better ways to diagnose and treat but it does not bring us any more wisdom.
Chinese medicine and other alternative medicine, such as homeopathy, Ayurvedic, naturopathy focuses more on healing the body naturally, meaning that it supports our system in a healthy way while it is doing its work to bring us back to health. For thousands of years, people have used many methods to rid themselves of colds, aches and pains, viruses, and even worst illnesses. Animals heal themselves naturally by retrieving into a remote location, protecting themselves from predators, and stop eating. They follow their instinct and fast until they feel better. Our mothers and grandmothers usually have the best remedies and often cure problems a lot faster and for a lot less money than conventional medicine. Alternative medicine practitioners have a tremendous amount of patience and a great love and respect for the human body. While a conventional doctor rushes you to get to his next patient for example, a certified homeopath will sit down with you between 1 to 3 hours and ask you all sorts of questions, let you speak, and listen carefully to any clue that will help him or her find the best way to bring you back to health.
About ten years ago, I went through a very frustrated time where I was in excruciating pain for 8 months before someone realized I had a tumor growing inside of me. My doctor ignored me for months, giving me some absurd reasons for my pain and suffering. She also refused to administer tests on me, because she was convinced she knew there was nothing wrong with me. It pretty much took a scream of extreme pain for her to give in. A tumor the size of a grapefruit was discovered. I was rushed to the hospital, my doctors fearing it would cut my blood flow. That was only the beginning of years of struggles with doctors until I took things in my own health. I unfortunately hear too many stories like mine, or even worse, people dying because doctors just won’t listen. If you are a woman, you probably have a story of a doctor telling you it is all “in your head”, only to realize later than you were right all along. Women, men have to be advocate for their own health. Parents need not to listen to doctors about what is best for their child, they need to do their homework and do what is best. Children need to be advocates for their elderly parents. While at the hospital, I witnessed first hand what happened when no one is there to check on nurses and doctors. They tried to remove additional organs from me. Thankfully, I was awake enough to speak up and say no. I was however discharged from the hospital with an infection. I had been complaining of pain but they discharged me anyways, only to call me 2 days later to say they had made a mistake and to put me on antibiotics right away (I had already gone to the doctor by then). Sadly, it takes unfortunate events like this to wake people up and make them realize that the best doctor sometimes is yourself. It is YOUR VOICE. Elderly people, left all alone in a hospital in a geriatric wing will often die prematurely because of the lack of care, or resistant bacteria lurking in most hospitals.
Doctors are not your best friends. Doctors is just a profession. Some take their job seriously, some stress at work and make mistakes, some just don’t care, some do not know how to handle the pressure of the medical, insurance and pharmaceutical industries. You have to learn not to trust anyone but your own instinct. I am in no way saying that you should never go to the doctor. What I am saying is that your body and your mind have the ability to do a lot more than you can imagine. Use your intelligence. Take a stand for your health or your loved ones. Do your research. Then listen to your gut. If you have a life threatening condition, you will know to go to the E.R or to seek treatment so you do not die of course. Some conditions require drastic measures. Even if you must have surgery, there are many things you can do to prepare yourself, and recover quicker. You are the boss. Your body is yours and yours only. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, do not let anyone step on you and intimidate you because of the degrees hanging on their wall. Do not take a pill just because that same guy with the degree on the wall say you should take it. I have had doctors give me pills they should not have given me (because they were not even aware of all the side effects). Overdose of prescription drugs is on the rise and the number one cause for accidental death in young people in the United States. Pharmaceutical companies are evil. They do not want us to get healthier. They make their money from us being sick. This is not a conspiracy, this is how it works. It is simply about money and profit. They do not want you to hear about some natural remedy (that could very well be the cure for your problem) Companies are not people. If they go our of business, no one will die. You, however, could die if you do not take the appropriate steps to be your own advocate. Learn to say NO. Learn to say, let me read about it and I will get back to you. Learn to say, I will get a second opinion, or three or four!! You know very well that when a commercial for a new drugs ends with the warning, this maybe cause…..fill in the blank (death sometimes), it means you should stay away, so just don’t do it. There is always an alternative out there. There is always a solution. I am lucky. 2 or 3 years ago, I was diagnosed with yet another tumor, with 30% chance it was cancerous and 70% non cancerous. I was obviously recommended to have my thyroid removed right away. I said no. I did my homework. I also (that’s the lucky part) have a great surgeon who was on my side and agreed to just “watch it”. Sleep on it is a great advice.
I leave you with that. I will be back to discuss fantastic ways to heal our body, good doctors or alternative healing advocates.
Peace, Health and Love, always.