Too far.

My Twin Sister from another Mum & Mister passed a TV viewing suggestion on to me, The Knick. Girl knows me well. Drugs, Sex and Scalpels –AND set in the early 1900’s… What’s not to love?

Five minutes in, I was already praising the surgical advances of the past 100 years. I know you hear me bash on Western Medicine with every other breath, but I’m the first to say how much I love our emergency and trauma medicine! When I landed my x-ray job I jumped at the night shifts the moment a spot opened up –I am NOT a morning person. As a night shift tech, routine exams were no longer my thing. You become a trauma x-ray tech, and for 90% of my career, that is what I did. Believe me, I fully appreciate someone with the ability to put a human being back together.

And of course, being me, I can’t just sit back and enjoy The Knick… my brain keeps turning.
When did we go too far?

I’ve met many a doctor with a god complex in my day, some well-earned. Some… Meh.
But it’s easy to see how they get there, when you watch what they do and consider the mental hazing they went through as medical students to get there. –Not defending it, just saying I can see it.

I give mad props to those first surgeons who sliced into the human body with little knowledge of what the hell they were doing –it meant that when my 8 month old needed a hernia/hydrocele repair in 2005, that I handed him off to a surgeon I’ve known for years, one with a well-earned god complex, without batting an eye. It never even occurred to me to be concerned that my baby was being knocked out and sliced into. I sipped on coffee and flipped through a magazine for about an hour until the procedure was over and took him home a couple hours later.

That was easy.
That was easy.

Advances in trauma and emergency medicine have, no doubt, added many years to our overall life expectancy. But we always want more, we want better –and it’s easy to get whipped up into a frenzy of ‘medical advancement’ –more “easy buttons” if you will.  At some point, that mindset switched over to better medicine through chemistry –and once the financial rewards were realized we got greedy.  The Knick reminds us of what it meant to have syphilis before Arsphenamine and Penicillin, I’m not knocking all pills –but it also reminds us of what greed and corruption can do to medicine.

If you’ve never explored the history of homeopathy in general, and specifically in this country, you really need to give it a read.  Even though homeopathic medicine had better cure rates for many conditions and epidemics that have come and gone –the homeopathic colleges and doctors were SHUT OUT of the mainstream by… Do I need to tell you, or can you guess? You can guess? Right? I don’t need to… oh ok…

spoiler
It was the beginnings of Big Pharma that did it. Shocking, I know.

I was “raised” in western medicine, ignorant to the alternatives. In college, in my Micro-Bio class I made fun of a classmate who said he was going to be a chiropractor. “Hey! Knuckle Cracker, M.D.!” I’d call him.  He graciously laughed and ignored me. He knew something I didn’t. Something I would learn later –well, two things… he knew chiropractic care works and he knew there was no point arguing with an ignorant fool.  He died in an accident before I ever got the chance to go see him and tell him how wrong I was. I regret that.

Being who I was, I would laugh when I heard the words “alternative medicine” and I laughed even harder when someone mentioned “homeopathy”… until years later when I read a book or two and wiped out the ignorance, and then tried it myself. And today, you won’t catch me without Arnica, a lifesaver in this accident prone body, and Apis –my constitutional remedy.  Apis made years-old scar tissue disappear. It made my night blindness go away. It makes me more… level, less… psychotic. I’m a true Apis 😉

Arnica won me over after a very traumatic molar extraction –one that involved a 300 pound, 6’4” dentist with a forearm on my chest, battering my face, torquing the fuck out of my jaw… I thought the jaw bone would snap… I felt the muscles tear –this went on for 20 minutes. He sent me on my way with a bottle of Vicodin and an apology. I took one in the car on the way home and starting taking arnica when I got home.  I never had to touch the Vicodin again. I had zero swelling. I had zero pain.

Some people say it’s a placebo effect –and since I don’t argue with ignorant fools, I will just say this… studies show it’s not. And even IF it was… what’s the harm in a sugar pill that costs pennies curing an ailment by placebo effect?

The harm is to the pharmaceutical company’s bottom line  –pHARMa, who no longer sees the benefit in finding ways to help patients with the least amount of side effects.  Actually, the more side effects, the better –because there are pills for those, too! Cha-ching!

Yeah, I am reusing this pic, it's perfect. And I'm lazy.
Yeah, I am reusing this pic, it’s perfect. And I’m lazy.

Doctors, who are soaked in pharma propaganda from day one in medical school, are not taught ways to keep their patients healthy, they are taught what pills mask what symptoms. They are not taught that symptoms are red flags telling us that something is wrong with the body. They are taught to find a patented chemical concoction to make the symptom go away. They don’t even do the patient the favor of choosing medicines only when the benefit will outweigh the risks. They just scribble on their little prescription pad…
–Or hell, maybe they are taught that symptoms are red flags but they don’t even try to convince a pill happy society that if they stop eating Hot Pockets and drinking Mountain Dew that they won’t need the pill.

Just... No. No.
Just… No. No.

But what made us pill happy in the first place?
The pharma propaganda and doctors with a god complex.
Well, that worked out nice, eh?

Why can’t the pride be in keeping a patient healthy?
I can think of one hurdle right off the top of my head –medical doctors are allowed to mass up to $200K in student loan debt, and most need it. And then they work for peanuts for many years. How do you pay that debt off when your patients don’t need you? They NEED the traffic. They need chronically ill patients!
Pharma bribes and swag help too, no? (My roommate at Penn State was a child of two physicians… we just couldn’t get enough Viagra pens, you know? Made taking notes in class HILARIOUS!)

I'm very easily entertained.
I’m very easily entertained.

How do we change the culture?
How do we convince physicians that the real winner is the one whose patients don’t NEED to take a pharma pill for the rest of their lives? Or that it’s OK to try Arnica for pain instead of gut and liver killing ibuprofen?
And that those who do need a pill ought to view it as a crutch on their journey to wellness, not as the permanent solution.
How do we get doctors trained for free, or get their debt forgiven, so the drive for profit diminishes?

Edit to add: Look what pops up in my news feed today. Doctors got $3.5 billion from Pharma in the last five months of last year alone. It’s not just cool Viagra pens, folks.

I don’t know… how DOES one beat the greed that thrives in the halls of Big pHARMa? –and all the places the pharma money flows to keep the operation running (CDC, FDA, Congress, your pediatrician!)?  There is a law suit going forward right now against Merck, brought on by two internal whistle blowers claiming that Merck lied about the effectiveness of their MMR vaccine in order to keep their patent (AKA: keep making a shit ton of money on it). Didn’t hear about that? WHAT?? Next you’ll tell me you haven’t heard about the CDC Whistle Blower too… Wha..? Oh, FFS!

Think of the quality of life we could have in this country if we balanced needed advances in medicine with TRUE preventive care and ‘alternative’ means of staying healthy, WITHOUT the toxic chemicals that make the CEOs of pharma companies obscenely rich –at the expense of human lives.

This whole game is about profit. Don’t think it’s not.
At one time it was about trying to fix and cure everything.
So we built better surgical equipment, and we practiced, and we got better.
We starting making designer pills in labs. And some of them worked really well, so we made more.
And those making money pushed out the people curing things for pennies -and their profits soared into the multi-billions, and there was no turning back. Common sense be dammed! And that’s when we went too far.  This “progress” kills more people than it saves especially when you consider most people being “kept alive” by pills wouldn’t need them if they changed their bad habits and/or tried alternative medicine.

If you need some examples of ‘too far’ consider:
1. The vaccine schedule in 1983 vs Now.
We got about 10 shots, not as infants. Spread out over time… and NO ONE was dying off in mass numbers from any epidemic. There was NO NEED to add in more vaccines, that carry risk of injury or death, into a mass vaccine campaign. But we did, because, more is better, right? So we added a shit ton more. Kids get 51 by KD now (36 of which are given by age 18 months).  And now 54% of children have a serious chronic illness or developmental disorder. Flip a coin, how do you like your odds?

2.  10,000 American TODDLERS now taking ADHD stimulant drugs.
They’re TODDLERS. They are supposed to be hyper little assholes. Stop giving them Mountain Dew and Hot Pockets and they’ll be FINE. But no, I guess giving meth to babies is easier than cooking them a meal and forcing them to drink… my god… WATER.

I’m done. You get the point. I could go on… but…  I’m probably keeping you from your evening pills.

 

 

 

 

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