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Be Yourself

Be Yourself

Over the years, many scientific advances have ushered in new concepts and therapeutic adventures in the field of medicine. There is no doubt that the development of cardiac pace makers and defibrillators, cardiac catheterization and stent placement for narrowed coronary artery flow and ablation techniques have revolutionized the practice of medicine. Newer devices in the specialty of cardiology are emerging every day, making it difficult to keep up with the latest and the greatest. Outside of the field of cardiology, absolute advances in medicine are few and far between.

I will concede that there are a few minor advances in the other fields of medicine, but if one corrects the statistics of survival for infant and child mortality and trauma death, we have made very few advances in medicine since the introductions of clean water and antibiotics. Now people have become paranoid over the use of antibiotics because of the potential for selecting out of superbugs; bacteria that are not be influenced by antibiotics. We have a few patients who are chronically infected with an e-coli or staph that does not respond to conventional treatment. But those patients are rare and have many reasons why they continue to have problems, it is not just the antibiotic.

I cannot begin to count the number of times patients have wondered why the current medical system does not look or examine patients for the root cause of their illnesses. Most patients believe sincerely that physicians went to medical school with absolute compassion and commitment to help people who are ill. The first thing I was told in medical school was that the practice of medicine was recession proof. To be honest with you, I did not grasp the idea of being "recession proof." I understand the concept fully now.

So what drives the money generation in medicine; the big dollars that fund capital improvements of hospitals and medical schools alike? Sickness of all kinds. There is no money or financial gain in curing an illness. As bizarre as it seems, in a healthcare system that charges and collects for managing illnesses in order to generate revenue, there will never be compassion for anything else but the financial side of the practice of medicine.

But let us not forget the patient's incentive to get well before we begin to dissect what's wrong with the healthcare side of medicine. What is the incentive for anyone to get well from a chronic illness? I have routinely asked people what they would do for themselves or others if they recovered fully from their mysterious illness that brought them to see me in the first place. The look on their faces is priceless when I ask such an absurd but important question. The overwhelming majority of the patients have no real answer. Some might suggest that they would return to whatever they are doing in their present life, just with more vim and vigor, but no one relates that they have had an epiphany of sorts and that curing their illness would bring about some sort of social change for everyone for the betterment of society.

Patients who are facing a death sentence due to illness of some kind or another tend to have an idea of how to spend their last days on Earth by carefully sketching out a bucket list of twelve or more places they would like to go or experiences to have before they die. Cancer victims have a sense that wisdom emerges as their cancer progresses. I am not so sure that is actually the case, but a lot of poetry is written, prayers are created and blogging occurs when people are dying of cancer to share their experience with others. I have heard that these individuals are courageous and/or brave for sharing something so personal and private with the world for all of us to see and possibly sympathize with. I am not so sure that is the case either, although I understand the logic behind it.

It is not uncommon for people to avoid taking any responsibility for their illness what-so-ever. I have patients who have type II diabetes mellitus who would be cured from their disease if they would just refrain from eating sugar, grains, fruits or beer. They look straight in my eyes and ask for a pill to take because asking them to do such a thing is mere needless suffering. They have watched television and found commercials that proclaim certain drugs will cure their disease. They will not make any lifestyle changes until all medical avenues have been exhausted and deemed unsuccessful. It is a long road to Tipperary.

So what makes patients believe that their health is not their concern? Perhaps it goes back several hundreds of years when people believed their illness was in God's domain. At that time, only a priest or minister could absolve someone of their sins, and by doing so the infirm had a better chance of making God fond of them, as reward, he would release their illness from their body or mind. I think we have all known people we believe could benefit from an exorcism.

Perhaps people believe the human body is much too complicated for them to imagine that doing healthy things will result in a more healthy life. After all, physicians have received thousands of dollars worth of training in treating medical illness, surely they can treat a common cold or simple illnesses like heart disease or kidney failure, until it is not simple anymore. Then each of those patients who refused to behave in a healthy lifestyle now become desperate in trying to do the absolute best thing to make sure they can complete their bucket list before they die. What good is it to experience cliff diving in Mexico if you do not live long enough to tell the adventure? None.

It takes planning, energy and commitment to eat healthy and maintain a healthy life style. It takes making time to remove yourself from the daily stresses that raise cortisol levels and create insulin resistance. Big Food, Big Pharma, Big Gov (government) and Big Ag (agriculture) have the incentive to take away your unhealthy choices, make you less fatigued and create any sense of personal responsibility for your actions or commitments. It is quite the opposite. That's like asking a divorce attorney to marry you or have him/her pick out your spouse. After the ceremony and the reception is over, the attorney hands their business card to the husband and the wife just in case.

To be complete, you can add Big Ed (education), Big Ins (insurance), Big Banks and Big Health to the mix. The incentive behind the curtains of a medical schools, health insurance companies, physicians and nurse practitioners, hospitals, banks and pharmacies is to make money off the infirm. The only person who has an incentive to be healthy is you both economically and emotionally. Anyone else who has an incentive to love and care for you personally shares in that incentive. Count the rest of the world out.

So be courageous, stop sharing your personal journeys with the world to make others believe you are brave, do not be afraid of being authentic, see the world through healthy glasses, not the rose colored ones that have been manufactured and promulgated by Big Food, Big Pharma, Big Gov, Big Ag, Big Ed, Big Ins, Big Banks and Big Health. The world according to the Bigs.

And at the very least, be yourself! That is the biggest act of all!

Doc  

Posted by Amanda Sanders at 9:29 AM
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