Monday, December 29, 2008

They Say "Live With It"

One of the worst things any doctor can say to a patient is "I guess you're going to have to live with it." It takes away any feeling of being able to get through things. It stops the patient from trying to get through whatever it is s/he is going through. It stops the doctor from trying to find answers. It breaks the oath of "First do no harm".

The problem with this oath other than that many doctors forget about it after swearing to it- is that it asks the medical professional to honor "the Almighty" whereas Hippocrates offered this to Apollo. I supposed a little fiction in a lot of science is warranted for those who aren't sure what facts are, and what is fiction. When a doctor swears the tenets of the Hippocratic Oath the idea is that s/he will:
  • Promise to complete duties by all things known to be of virtue and power;
  • Continue studying the science of medicine, in respect to those who have paved a way of study before;
  • Follow treatments based on experience and judgment, and do no harm, including never administering lethal doses of medication;
  • And, my favorite quote "I will go for the benefit of the sick and will abstain from every voluntary act of mischief or corruption and further from the seduction of any patient."

If a doctor- or any medical professional tells a patient, "Live with it", there's almost an act of complete corruption in the simple statement. It's a statement of "You're not really sick, and I can't help you." Or it's a comment of "You're making up this, and I have no time for you." The one thing it isn't is a statement of the oath. There's no compassion. There's no attempt to honor teachers and those who studied beforehand. There's no attempt to heal.

No one has to "Live with it". We have limited finances, and there are clinics that will offer free or sliding scale fees. We have insurance, but it doesn't cover the medications needed. Okay, well there are discount RX services, and some pharmaceutical companies offer free or MASSIVE discounts on drugs that include antidpressants, blood pressure, and even birth control options, and RX Assist is great at pairing up patients with meds needed.

Your doctor is your employee. You are not expected to be berated, nor are you expected to be treated with disrespect. Many medical offices list the Patient Bill of Rights. There was a push for a federal mandate for this, but it's never gotten past the discussion phases. Your doctor works FOR you, and you are not his or her assistant, target of humiliation, nor are you supposed to take everything they say as the FINAL statement. You can get a second opinion.

If you have pain, you can get tested for the extent, and the source of pain. If you have symptoms, and the blood tests aren't showing the information the doctors need to prove you have an illness- ask for additional blood tests, and ask for the results of past tests you've taken. By keeping track of your levels you can see what is Normal for YOU and not just the guidelines set up to include the general public. The "normal" ranges for many tests are often based on the samplings of a very few people. It isn't necessarily YOUR normal range.

For instance, for years I had a very low body temperature. Whenever the doctors took my thermometer readings, they saw an unchanged 98.2. Four years ago, the body temperature dropped to 97.3, which stayed that way for years. It wasn't until I started taking a thyroid replacement therapy medication that I started seeing the body temp moving up. For years, when I was breaking out into a sweat, I was told I didn't have a fever because the temp was 99. For someone who has an average of 97.3, the 99 degrees is certainly feverish.

Keep track of all your levels of all your tests. I have records of DHEA, Estrogens, Thyroid panels, along with regular RBC and WBC counts. What I discovered is that my estrogen levels are quirky, my "sex" hormones are almost gone, and the progression of my Bilirubins has been as off as my Lymphocytes. I've got results that show a long term decline and apparently it's immunity based because the numbers read for those who have been battling viral issues for a very long time.

Keep a diary of symptoms. If you monitor your daily ups and downs you can determine if there is a change in your illness after meals, after waking up, when sleeping, or whatever it is that seems to become a pattern. Notice if there's a specific time of the month. Try to find a pattern that shows you if you have more symptoms during a certain weather period, or when there is a season that seems to add to your problems. Note all of this.

Keep a diary of your diet- including Supplements. More people are discovering that taking even vitamin pills can drastically affect the way they respond to prescriptions. Bring all of these reports to your visit, and include ALL medications, including over-the-counter pain, sinus, and even protein shakes. If you drink soy milk, snack on veggies, anything that would possibly affect your health in any way should be noted.

Today's questions- What have you had to "live with" that you believe can be helped my medical attention? Are you seeing a holistic professional? Have you been told by doctors you can never be healthy?

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