Beginning a New Journey

I am fed up.

Our healthcare system in this country is absolutely terrible. In the last week, I’ve seen one doctor who told me he couldn’t do anything for me except cut into my sinuses again or refer me to a neurologist (who would likely prescribe a daily pain medication), I called another doctor who prescribed an antibiotic, I went to the pharmacy to pick up said antibiotic and was told it was on backorder (so they gave me a 3-day supply), then was told they couldn’t get any more of the medication, called the prescribing doctor, got a new prescription, went to pick it up, and was told that I couldn’t get a full prescription again because I’d already been given a 3-day supply (even though I had to stop taking it for 2 days while I waited for them to figure out which medication they were going to prescribe instead). For anyone keeping track in that extremely long, run-on sentence, I spent the entire week in pain while I continued to be the mediator between two different doctors and the pharmacy.

All of this makes me question the accuracy not only of the prescriptions I’m given, but of diagnoses as well. Not to mention, I have zero confidence that anyone, anywhere in the chain, is paying attention to what I’m taking, how the medications are interacting, or if I’m even on the right stuff. Worse yet – do I even need to be on anything at all? Are there alternatives?

I went to see the doctor a couple months ago because I was having digestive issues. Instead of suggesting diet changes, or giving any specific recommendations (other than the typical “follow the food pyramid! You can’t go wrong!”), they prescribed enzymes that I am supposed to take with every meal. I already take an acid medication twice a day to deal with that part of the digestive problem, and have been taking it for years. I am tired of medication being the answer for everything. There has to be a better solution!

Why are we so ready and willing to allow our bodies to be ravaged by the rempant prescription of medications for every little ailment? Why am I? Probably because that’s what doctors and society have been telling us we should accept for years. I have grown weary of the endless noise surrounding my health care. Sure, I have a medical condition. But nowhere along the way has any doctor really taken a look at my body (and mind) as a single unit. It’s always the joint doctor looking at the joints, the GI doctor looking at the GI tract, the lung doctor looking at the lungs, and the nose doctor looking at the nose. The nose doctor doesn’t talk to the joint doctor or the lung doctor, the primary care doctor doesn’t get the memo from the lung doctor, and they are all just prescribing more medications to solve their problem. Forget what anyone else is trying to fix. Well, guess what? The head bone connects to the… neck bone. The neck bone connects to the… collar bone. The collar bone connects to the… shoulder bone. You get the idea. Don’t we learn that in elementary school?

I find it hard to believe that you can do something to one part of the body without affecting another part. When will our doctors start looking at us not as individual body parts stuck together to make a whole unit, but as one living, breathing, thinking being that is unique from every other being on earth? I don’t believe it will ever happen, at least not the way our system is currently set up.

So, what can we do for ourselves? We’ve heard a lot about taking charge of our healthcare, making sure we’re responsible for our own health and that we’re keeping tabs on what our doctors are doing. But, doesn’t that make us “the doctor?” After my extremely frustrating several months, I decided I have to stop relying completely on my doctors to make everything better. Isn’t that part of our problem these days? We think our doctors should be able to “fix” everything that is wrong with us. In fact, our expectations are so high that it’s probably one of the main reasons we get prescribed something every time we see the doctor.

I decided to make a couple changes in my own life because I don’t like the answers I’m getting from the doctors. I don’t want to be medicated the rest of my life. Although it may someday come to that, I’m 27 years old. I’m healthy, other than the whole disease thing. So here’s what I’ve done. As an experiment, to see if my digestive issues would improve on their own, I started eating a different diet. Why? I don’t know exactly what prompted the decision. But I do know that I am feeling better than I ever felt while taking the enzymes. Almost all of my issues have cleared up completely, including the majority of the acid problems.

What else can I do? When I didn’t get any answers from the doctors about how to handle the sinus pain, I immediately called someone who does energy work and essential oil work. She balanced things out, helped me relax, and suggested some exercises I could do for myself. I called an acupuncturist, and had that appointment on Wednesday. Bottom line — I refuse to accept the options I was given as my only alternatives. My body deserves better than that. And if it doesn’t work, no harm done. It’s all an experiment. But I do believe that health care should be more than simply looking at one piece of me in a vacuum, with complete disregard for the rest of me — mind, body, or soul. I need someone who looks at everything, all of me. If nothing else, I feel empowered because I feel like there are alternatives — things no traditional doctor will suggest.

All of this may sound absurd, but it all stems from the giant disappointment that is our health care system. I am feeling more and more discouraged to go see the doctor, which is unfortunate and I’m beginning to understand the people who refuse to see a doctor until it’s too late. I am tired of being treated like a number, a label, like everyone else who walks into the doctor’s office. I am tired of being referred to specialist after specialist, just to continue paying copays and bills and getting absolutely no treatments or answers. I need something that is good for my whole body, my whole self, my whole being. We all do, when it comes down to it, and we all deserve better than what we’re getting. So begins my journey with non-traditional medicine — may it be an effective and worthwhile journey.

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