sorry for the delay in part 2- the first post was meant to be all-inclusive, but 1- it got too long; and 2- i am dealing with a small bout of stomach flu…
so, onward and upward…
the second area that i notice a marked lack of confidence is in medical matters. from having a baby to treating a fever (or a stomach flu!) to dealing with the normal bumps and scrapes of life, we have become convinced as a society that we do not have the wisdom- much less the basic common sense!- to deal with our own bodies.
small disclaimer here: i am not a “get in tune with your body” person by nature. i would get dressed in the dark even if i was alone, and i’d prefer to pretty much have as little contact with my groovy parts as possible. so i am not here to preach to you new age meditation or zen-like body worship.
i am, however, gonna point out that most of us are continuously unaware of even the most basic and simple sensations coming from our bodies. we eat past the point of being full. we often eat past the point of discomfort. we certainly don’t eat (most of us- me included, sadly) as ways to provide quality fuel for our bodies so that they can engage in healthful and purposeful work. we don’t rest when we are tired. we use artificial lights and artificial stimulants and artificial relaxants to coax (read: coerce/smash/destroy) our bodies into being machines that go on demand. we treat our bodies the way we would never treat our cars; we expect them to go without maintenance or tune-ups and not to break down. when they do break down, we just cover up the symptoms with more drugs so we won’t feel the damage we continue to cause. in the case of full-out illness that becomes chronic, we just add more meds and never try to get to the root of the problem and try to fix it.
we don’t know how to stay hydrated or get rested or give birth. we shrug our shoulders helplessly and turn to the “professionals” for help.
and that whole industry- because make no mistake that medicine is an industry- will happily perpetuate our ill health so they can justify their own existence. they exist because we are too afraid to take charge of and take responsibility for our own health (or lack thereof).
yes, there are good doctors. there are good clinics and good hospitals and good medicines. if i am ever in a 20 car pile-up and have a limb or two severed, i would probably like to have a trained neurosurgeon on hand to put me back together. i would not like to remove a ruptured appendix on my diningroom table.
but i would also like to be able to go into a doctor and say, “listen i had this infection. i cleared it up with __________________ (fill in the blank here with herbs or food or homeopathy or acupuncture or whatever). i just want you to know for my medical record.” and have them not look at you like you committed a felony. i would like for women in labor to never again be threatened with, “you don’t want your baby to die, do you?” especially since the U.S. has one of the highest infant mortality rates of any developed country when people birth in hospitals, maybe this should be a cautionary sign on the door to the maternity ward instead of an excuse to do one more unnecessary c-section. i would like to be able to treat simple conditions with solutions that are more in line with what i believe and not have to be treated like a pariah because i questioned the holy medical establishment.
i’m reading so much lately about high dose vitamin c. i’m learning about medicinal plants. i’m hearing from people- in whispers, of course- who have taken better charge of their health and that of their families, and every time i am in the hospital, i see why they speak in hushed shadows.
because the medical folks often don’t have the answers either, but they are beyond threatened by you trying to be a partner in your own health care. frequently ER personnel are trained to ignore what patients say. they are taught to assume you are lying. that’s right,. they will do their protocol regardless of what you tell them because they assume-rightly or wrongly- that most patients are not telling the truth. they can’t possibly understand the whole truth, or even what is important, so the doctors will let you talk, but few of them will really listen.
and when you see that you are just another piece of meat on the table, you will begin to devalue your information as well. and most of the time, the patients’ voices get quieter and quieter, until you learn to just lay there and shut up and only speak when spoken to.
people continue to die of doctor error- even from well-intentioned doctors. they die of hospital interventions even when the correct procedures are followed. yes, people died before the growth of the medical establishment, but never did they feel so devalued or so powerless.
and that’s really my point.
there’s a place for conventional medicine and a place for doctors and a place for acupuncture and a place for homebirth.
but when we are so psyched out in the face of “experts” who don’t really know more about our own bodies than we do, that gets us into trouble.
because if people were empowered- even a bit- the really intensive interventionist health care could be available for those who really need it instead of those who think they need a doctor’s permission to drink soup when they have a cold. and those who think they need a prescription for a fever instead of letting the body kill whatever it is trying to kill. and those who don’t even trust themselves enough to wait 24 hours in non-emergent situations.
and if your first reaction here is “yeah, but in some cases, that 24 hours could be the difference between life and death!”- or some such mutation of that thought- then you are either missing my point or proving it.