The Lifelessness of A Life Managing System

Due to the Obama healthcare reform I am more a part of "the system" than I have been in years. I have health insurance that covers more than catastrophic events. This seemed the right time to find out why I have persistent annoyances like reflux. I went to the doctor to see what I could find out.

On my first call I was asked if I'd like to see a nurse instead of a doctor. By doing so my appointment will be weeks sooner. "Sure," I said and off I went days later. Upon arriving I noticed the system first thing. Three cubicles met me once inside the door. Mexican woman each around 30 waited inside them. I slid into cube 1 and answered a series of questions which one of them fingered into a computer before sending me into a waiting room where I was to pick a ticket with a number on it, much like one does in deli's in New York. My number called I progressed to three more cubicles manned by three more Mexican women around 30. I answered additional questions that were fingered into a computer and then once in a room with the nurse I explained my symptoms all the while noticing that she typed every word into a computer that was the only object in the room besides the furniture. She never looked up.

When she did finally look at me, no more than once or twice, she appeared frightened. I wondered why as I told her that my diet of fermented foods, garden picked veggie juices and unprocessed foods had me surprised that I suffered from reflux, an acid imbalance in the stomach. She had no idea what I was talking about. Then she became animated and engaged in our conversation as she explained that though at one time taking one type of prescription drug meant you could not take another this had changed and today I could take the most popular two drugs if I spaced them apart. I told her that I don't wish to take any drugs. With a startled, wide eyed, expression she looked at me then started typing again. I asked what she thought of the popular theory that reflux was the result of too little stomach acid. She looked at again seeming frightened and said nothing. She typed. I studied a poster on the wall that described disease of the stomach.

Moments later she handed me a piece of paper, a referral to get a test done the next day. "Oh good I thought, data." That night I read forms she gave me, "Ohhh I said to my mom (I was staying at her home for the night), I am going to be put to sleep for this procedure," and I began to worry. The next morning I arrived at the address on the form and was surprised by what followed. I was taken into a hospital like room, hooked up to an IV and a bunch of monitors and asked if I had a medical directive while being given a form to sign giving a doctor I'd never met permission to preform surgery on me if he should puncture my stomach while I was under anesthesia. I agreed to the endoscopy thinking that this was what I wanted insurance for, data. I'd choose my treatment once I had the facts.

From a hospital bed, wired up with tubes, an IV, some stuff stuck to my chest I met with several more typing Mexican women and off I went wheeled into a room that contained a doctor that said hello but never turned to me as he was busy adjusting a machine. A woman named Olive stuffed some oxygen dispensing tubing up my nose and turned to yet anther machine which she checked a couple of times. Then in the middle of my asking Olive a question everything went black. When I awoke I a doctor was showing me a picture of the inside of my stomach. Next memory I was in the car with my mom who was driving me to her house where I sat and wondered for a while how it could be that I had spent two days visiting doctors and the people who I spoke with were mainly Mexican women who typed my data into the system, a doctor that spoke at me only while I was on a sedative too high to understand him, and a nurse that I seem to have frightened by speaking about nutrition and diet. The human energy that had been spent around me in the two days was mainly applied to machines and computers and not to people. The system supports itself before those who move through it. It tracks and bills. It follows the movement of living creatures through a dead system. It gathers data and matches it to possible outcomes based on probabilities that are expressed in the form of prescriptions, tests, and procedures.

The next day seemingly magically my phone rang and a nurse I'd never heard of asked how I was doing. When I told her I felt weird and my temperature was 94 she said "well let us know if you get a high fever." Then I went on line and read that a temp of 94 is life threatening. A low temp was not listed as an alert for the procedure that I had. We hung up.

Today I wondered what I got from this experience. I got data. I know that I don't have a bunch of awful things like cancer and h-pylori. I don't know anything more about why I have the discomfort that sent me to the doctor in the first place. I have not learned anything. I don't feel cared for. In fact people hardly acknowledged me. Most were staring at machines while I was with them. I got a prescription that if I should I rely on it will reduce my body's ability to break down proteins in the future.

I can see that the system works well at maintaining itself. It's existence (if you can call it that) is important. Mine on the other hand seems secondary. I am a thing of categories for which the system offers a preprogrammed answers. When I went back to the nurse I said, "since I still don't know why I have this, can I be tested for food allergies?" She typed. She handed me a piece of paper, instructions to go to a lab and be tested for lactose intolerance. "What about nutrition?" I asked. You'll have to go to a nutritionist for that. Not once did she mention diet, or share any knowledge with me about what I came in for. I still don't know what reflux actually is. Telling me did not link up to an action: a referral, a test, a prescription. It did not serve the system. While I'm no smarter for having gone to the doc or for spending two days engaged in grueling and even life threatening tests, I have seen the inside of my stomach which was kinda cool. I think that putting a purring cat on my belly for the duration of a nap would have produced better results. I'd feel better at least in the emotional sense as a living creature it always feels good when I connect to life.


Jay said...

I wouldn't want to interfere with your medical team or anything. I'm not a doctor.

Would it be too personally invasive for me to wish that you feel better soon? or would my efforts be a form of practicing medicine without a license?

Oh heck... I'll risk the prison time and do it anyway. It's for a good cause.

Feel better Wendy!!
The sooner the better.

Tom said...

Like Jay, I don't wish to offer medical advice ... except for my standard advice: Stay the Hell away from Doctors!

With your knowledge of plants and herbs, you are essentially a medical shaman. You should look to your own knowledge and experience for answers.

Read more; research more; contemplate more.

And like Jay said, "I hope you feel better soon."


bayrider said...

I went through this same experience a few years back. My throat was feeling increasingly strange when I swallow and I was prone to choking for no apparent reason, I was sent to the endoscopy center and diagnosed with GERD and Barret's esophagus which is a precancerous condition.

GERD/Reflux is when the stomach acids are moving up past the sphincter at the base of the esophagus and entering the throat. The cells there are damaged by the acid and eventually they alter into cells resembling those found in the stomach, acid resistant (eventually you no longer feel a burning sensation, the cells become numb to it). They can eventually become cancerous.

The ENT prescribed 2 Prilosec per day and 2 Pepcid AC per day. For life. Which I took for 18 months without any real discernible benefit. I still felt my throat irritated in the morning and I had increasing episodes of acid indigestion which was actually uncommon to me previously. I questioned the validity of taking these pills and started researching them, especially Prilosec, it blocks your uptake of certain nutrients, it drastically suppresses acid production by the cells lining the stomach. As we age we produce less acid, does it make sense to reduce it drastically? (I was 57) After reading the book below I decided to quit these drugs and try alternative treatments. I weaned off the drugs over 3 weeks but had awful acid rebound from the Prilosec for about a week, the most intense acid indigestion I had ever experienced. I went through a lot of TUMS that week but when I stared the DGL the acid went away almost immediately. DGL is just a form of licorice, it soothes and encourages healing of the stomach and esophagus, I was really surprised at how effective it is. It's natural, very inexpensive and quite effective, I often chew a couple tablets before bedtime or if I wake with any acidity. Anyway once I got off the drugs I realized that I was fine in general but my esophagus is clearly no longer sealing adequately while I'm sleeping reclined. I bought a 7" foam sleeping pad to elevate my upper body in bed. Which is what the doctor should have recommended in the first place. That has been the single most effective treatment for me. I was going to try adding HCL acid as you mentioned but these steps pretty much addressed the problem so I never got around to that. The book covers all that and much more, lots of useful and actionable information, I recommend it. I also started eating mostly Paleo style, no processed foods, sugar or refined grains, for a lot of people it's enough to eliminate GERD right there. Dairy products are a fairly typical problem for lots of people with GERD.

Sorry to be long winded. Clearly you are on the right track with your skepticism of modern medicine. I am a more conservative person and it took me a while to realize how useless and even counterproductive much of modern pharmacology is. GERD needs to be dealt with but these drugs do not address the problem at all, they merely mask the symptoms. I think Prilosec is the most profitable drug in history, I know it is the most prescribed, I would avoid it at all costs.

All the best to you.



Wendy J. Tremayne said...

thanks for all of these wonderful posts. I ordered the book. I also already had the DGL. it has been the ONLY thing that brings me relief. I had not considered it as "enough." but maybe it is!

another friend wrote me to my email but I want to share an herb he had success with in case you are interested, it is called Bao He Wan.

thanks again!

Michael Graves said...

Reading about your experience was very interesting. I think I too have some level of GERD, but I haven't been able to afford to get a diagnosis, but judging by your experience maybe that is just as well.

I find DGL works pretty well and sleeping on my left side or with my head elevated. While I don't have heart burn very often, I do get a really nasty asthma like cough that the OTC drugs knocked back about 80%, but it came back about a week after the course of drugs was finished.

I am currently working on a 5/2 fast program since I read that the fasting period helps your body heal. This seems to help as my cough seems much better right after my fast day for a day or two.

Just another thing to try. I too hope you are feeling better.


Howard Taylor Taylor said...

Doctors know nothing about nutrition. When you you are 15 years old you can eat everything at 30 you have 1/2 the enzymes you were born with.Enzymes digest protean, carbohydrates, fiber, oil, milk and sugar.Take enzymes you have no acid reflux.
Acid reflux medicine is voodoo. Please read manufacturer insert. The medicine causes reflux.Treat the problem. Enzymes lots of them.Digest Gold is best expensive but best .Every meal.Fermented food not enough of all enzymes.

morgaineotm said...

Doctor visits are about gathering information so we can take care of ourselves! My non-medical advice would be, if the foods you are eating cause you distress, don't eat them. Try something else, as that is the cause. Anything else is treating the symptoms; whether you use Wise Woman methods or pharmeceuticals.
just my person perceptive

Julie said...

Came to this one a bit late ...but
I was able to pretty much do away with this condition by following a food combining diet.
It seemed sensible to me and did not involve buying anything or the need to consult a physician,just "rearranging" the way I ate. I don't eat this way all the time only when I start to experience symptoms again.
(mind you pasta with heavy tomato sauce and a protein are probably always dangerous for me)

pekar said...

I take acidophilus for acid stomach, NOT antacid, which prompts the body to generate more acid. dunno if this helps.
Hospitals are for sick people, and I avoid them.
I'd recommend seeking out a GP, or specialist who isn't averse to alternative treatments. The medical establishment is far too eager to use their fancy technology and meds, with far too little understanding of how the body actually functions.
be well.

Keith Henry said...

Conclusion (best to start with the juicy stuff): I ordered the test (general blood and urine test) that I wanted online through healthtestingcenters(dot)com (there are others). It was as easy as ordering a crock pot on Amazon and there are MANY tests (a.k.a. data points) to choose from. I set up an appointment for the blood draw the next day at a local Qwest Center and after nearly passing out, I had the test results in my inbox the following evening! It felt soooo empowering to simply do this on my own even though I paid out of pocket ($89). I will be gathering data points like this from now on.

The stuff that comes before the above conclusion:
A couple of months ago I wanted to get bloodwork done before starting a ketogenic diet. I was going to see a doctor, but how could I get an appointment that wasn't two months away? How could I even find a doctor, esp one taking new patients? All of this considering that I have great insurance thru my job. Eventually, I found myself asking, "why do I even need to see the doctor, won't he just tap on my chest and order a test?". I just wanted data points. I realized that if a problem appeared in the blood and urine test the doc would probably JUST PRESCRIBE F-ING DRUGS ANYWAY! I figured that I'm better off with data and Google and the power of many who have had all kinds of problems and successfully fixed them. Don't get me wrong, I love our medical system for getting fixed up after a car wreck, etc.

Keith Henry said...

One more thing. You mention wondering about getting an allergy test in your blog post. My aunt and uncle did this. The company basically exposes your blood to all kinds of different types of foods and looks at the reaction. You get a list foods that you should completely avoid, those that you should mostly avoid and those that should work well for you. Looks interesting. I think that the price of the test depends on the number of foods that they test for. I don't remember the name of the company. I want to research their methods and read about people who have taken the advice from their results and improved their health. Maybe something to look into...

Wendy J. Tremayne said...

I see we reason in similar ways. Congrats on getting what you needed. Mikey is likely going a similar route. And thanks for the info about their being on line sources for allergy testing based on blood. That's super interesting. I'm going hunting for them.