Yeah yeah yeah I'm a lot to handle
You don't know trouble but
I'm a hell of a scandal
Me I'm a scene I'm a drama queen
I'm the best damn thing
that your eyes have ever seen
- Avril Lavigne, Best Damn Thing
I love this CNN article/interview with Evan Handler, who played Harry Goldenblatt on Sex & The City, Being a bad patient can save your life. He had leukemia, and what he means by being a bad patient is not just sitting back and doing whatever your doctor tells you. You have to be your own advocate for your healthcare. You have to research treatments, medications, and so on if you really want to heal because no one cares more about your life - or your children's if you are an adult caring for your kids' health - than you do.
I strongly believe that the medical industry has become very corrupted by pharmaceutical industry incentives and greed, and doctors rarely do good jobs at diagnoses these days. They give you medication and hope your symptoms go away, and if they don't, well come back in a few weeks and we'll try something different. Doctors are not required to take any nutrition class during their entire medical school education, which is truly sad (And one of the reasons I chose a midwife for my childbirth). There's no lesson in proactive medicine without nutrition. I have talked to Savannah about this because she wants to be a doctor and I've talked to her about looking into the interface between eastern and western medicine because being holistic about your health is the way to go. And it's being more accepted by the mainstream medical complex in the Western world anyway. Today many insurance companies cover acupuncture, massage therapy, midwifery, and other things that were not covered even ten years ago. When I wanted to use a midwife I had to pay out of my own pocket for a midwife despite having excellent health insurance at the time. I bartered, and designed a website (SoCalbirth.org) for my midwife!
Anyway, there are so many natural treatments out there that do not require you ingesting weird manufactured chemicals or rubbing them on your body. And when it comes to even natural things, I am a huge skeptic -- but let me tell you an example of how something natural healed an ailment. My friend Amy sells Young Living Essential Oils products and I had a plantar's wart on the bottom of my foot that I've had doctors burn to no avail, and give me medicine for, to no avail. I've used over the counter wart medicine, and prescription. Nothing worked. She told me that she put oregano oil on a wart she had and it went away. I was like, ya, whatever. She said she put a bandaid on it every day also so I thought to myself, I'm going to try an experiment. And so for a month I put little round bandaids on my wart to see if just "starving" it of oxygen may be the thing that did the trick rather than the oregono oil. Nope, no cigar. Didn't work. So I said ok, give me a sample and I'll see what happens. She gave me oregano oil and I used it a couple times a day for about a month, and.... the wart is now completely gone. No joke. Oregano? Who knew.
Then just the other day, another friend who had an infection on her skin who had gotten all kinds of treatments from the doctor, changed her laundry detergent and soap, and everything eventually did some research of her own and then was telling me she decided to start taking multi-vitamins and oregano oil. Turns out she determined the rash was some sort of fungal infection. I was like, you're joking! How did you hear about oregano oil? (I hadn't told her about my own story with oregano oil). And I can't remember how she found out about it but some online research or something. Apparently oregano oil has very strong anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. She takes it in pill form. And so how much money do we people spend on anti-fungal medicines and wart medicines that have all kinds of horrendous chemical compounds that cause yet other problems, when something totally natural, totally healthy, and made by God will heal our ailment?! And there are no doubt dozens of other examples out there. It's partly why I do the lemonade cleanse regularly because I believe in refocusing my energy on purity, health, and eating healthily.
I'll also say that many doctors do not usually take too kindly to patients who question their wisdom. It takes a confident and understanding doctor to have his or her authority challenged. Most patients don't, so they're not used to it. I've had a few that respected me for taking the time to research the issues myself, but most of them make you feel bad for doing things like questioning the necessity of certain vaccinations, or certain medicines. Case in point, Savannah just had an ear tube removed that was placed in there when she was a toddler. Usually they fall out naturally but one of hers didn't so she had to have it surgically removed.
As I blogged about when I had my own surgery, I completely disagree with the concept of getting an Amnesiac (a medicine given by the anesthesiologist to make the patient not remember). What is the point? First of all, doesn't it seem kind of 1984 or Brave New World-ish? It's like, if the patient can't remember something, there's less chance of a malpractice suit. When I told this to Savannah's doc, he was like "I can promise you there's not a conspiracy going on here." I said "it's not that I think there's a conspiracy, I think that it's in the best interest of the doctor, not the patient..." He said, well for younger kids I won't do it without the amnesiac (propofol is what they use) because they get terrified, and why would you want them to remember that?
I didn't continue the conversation with him because he was getting defensive, and he'd agreed to my terms already anyway, but in my head, I was thinking, I'd rather myself or my kids remember whatever happens, no matter if it is scary or not, simply for the sake of knowing the truth. An Amesiac reminds me of the date rape drug, to be honest. It's bad enough that women get raped with that horrendous drug, but it makes it harder to deal with in any kind of therapy, because they have to wake up from the event with a part of their memory stripped permanently. If a child (or adult for that matter) gets terrified in surgery, I would think if it has some lasting impact it would be better to have that memory fully alive so they can then talk about it and work through it than have it buried in the subconscious so that it's all muddled and fuzzy.
Anyway the second reason I disagree with the use of the Amnesiac is that the fewer medicines given to someone, the better in general because there's less chance of a freak negative reaction (I just saw that movie Nights in Rodanthe where a doctor's patient had died from a freak reaction to anesthesia). You have to sign all that fine print paperwork that 99% of people don't read, but the reality is, most people do not think that a freak reaction will happen to them. But it might, and why increase the risk unecessarily? I'm lucky that the kids' dad is 100% behind me on things like this.
I pretty much feel this way about just about everything that is important. If it's important, whether health, relationship, education, religion, politics, parenting, or whatnot, question it! Question authority! Question the status quo! Do not just believe blindly what someone has handed to you as the "truth." It makes life a little more challenging because it takes more work and more effort, but in the end it's well worth it. And when you're making decisions for your kids who can't make as informed of decisions for themselves, and their lives, it's very worth it to do your research.
As philosopher Immanuel Kant wrote in 1784 in his essay, What is Enlightenment:
"If I have a book which understands for me, a pastor who has a conscience for me, a physician who decides my diet, and so forth, I need not trouble myself. I need not think, if I can only pay -- others will easily undertake the irksome work for me."
And he continues:
"Immaturity and dependence are the inability to use one’s own intellect without the direction of another. One is responsible for this immaturity and dependence, if its cause is not a lack of intelligence or education, but a lack of determination and courage to think without the direction of another. The motto of enlightenment is therefore: Sapere aude! Dare to be wise! (ie. Have courage to use your own intelligence!)"
I talk about these issues in my book which I'm working on (to be published by Beacon Press in 2010) about making peace between Christianity and science and reason - about balancing a Christian life in a scientific world.