Last spring my doctor asked me to work on raising my Vitamin D levels. The conversation left me puzzled.
Doc: “I can write you a proscription for Vitamin D, or if you prefer you can just pick up a supplement at the store.”
Me: “It’s spring now, can’t I just sit in the sun?”
Doc: “I’m not allowed to suggest that.”
Me: “You’re not allowed to recommend the most natural form of Vitamin D as it was intended?”
Doc: “I’m afraid not. As doctors we can’t suggest sun exposure. We can only prescribe supplements.”
Me: “You have to proscribe me pills when the natural form is free and abundant?”
Doc: “I’m afraid so.”
And that pretty much sums up my frustration with much of modern western medicine. Common sense has gone out the door. More and more doctors are treating symptoms, not people.
When I was in labor with my daughter nearly 3 years ago, it was a Herculean effort to avoid unnecessary medical interventions. I interviewed doctors, toured hospitals, poured over consumer reports and statistics on C-Sections and infant mortality rates to make the best choice for us. I wrote a birth plan and my husband was prepped to be my health advocate, understanding well our wishes. When my water broke I spoke to the doctor-on-call by phone. He told me to come in and he’d get me started on Pitocin, a common off-label drug used to induce labor, unnaturally. He had never even met me. I wasn’t even registered at the hospital yet and I was already being proscribed a drug intervention.
My mother, who has Type 2 diabetes due to a slew of bad health choices, saw her doctor for depression. Her doctor immediately put her on antidepressants. She began to have side effects from her medications. Her doctors answer was more medications. She’s now on a whole host of medications each one treating the symptoms of another. Her doctor never asked her why she was depressed; never suggested talk therapy (that I know of.) When I asked about all these medications her answer was, her doctor knows what she’s doing and who were we to question her? I’m not opposed to antidepressants, but on what planet do we prescribe drugs for depression without ever addressing the psychological aspect? It blows my mind.
Who knows? Maybe she is right. Maybe her doctor is awesome and knows exactly what she’s doing. But I’ll tell ya, the medical industry (uh, medical business model rather) does NOT have me feeling the warm fuzzies. I’m grateful we have doctors. It’s an amazing calling, but I can’t help but feel there is something severely lacking in our approach to medicine here in the US. In future posts, I’ll share my birth story. It’s pretty wild what we went through to keep the hospital focused on a normal, natural birth process. If I”m feeling especially brave, I might share some of things I’ve heard hospital administrators say. ∞
It was this wonderful interview with Doctor Bernie Siegel, author of A Book of Miracles that got me thinking about this. The interview comes via the Tranquilty du Jour blog. Hit the link below to listen.