Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I Don't Want a Band-Aid

By Ozone Amanda, SpiroChicks Contributor

I’m tired of my doctor being my drug dealer. Where is my doctor?

Put away the prescription pad! I know some of you out there rely on antibiotics for treatment and I believe in using whatever works for you. But, I’m tired of doctors ignoring the state of my overall health and simply handing me little squares of papers for lyme-related pain, fatigue, and depression.

For years before I was diagnosed, I saw a series of doctors who had no recourse but their pads. I don’t believe they were insincere or uncaring, but they did little to accomplish what I saw as their main role: helping me figure out the root of my health problems.

I would sit on white paper-covered tables and they would ask me about my symptoms and then hand me a prescription to address each one. I’d protest that, for instance, I didn’t want to just mask the pain because that wouldn’t make it go away and I didn’t want to be taking medication for it everyday, indefinitely...Rather, I wanted to know what was wrong. The doctor said my problems stemmed from a “physical manifestation of psychological stress” and I should just use the prescription on “particularly bad days.” But, everyday was bad. And, my pain was connected to my lethargy and an overall feeling of ill health. What would the medication do for that? Answer: there’s always more medication. Even drugs to counteract the side effects of other drugs.

One doctor actually asked me, pen poised over his prescription pad, “On a scale of 1 to 10, what is an acceptable level of pain for you to live with?” Umm, how about zero? That wasn’t an option, he said. “We all live with some amount of pain.”

This may be heresy to say to the lyme community—and on days when I am really suffering, I will deny I ever said this—but, I am almost grateful to Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) for changing the way I think about health. When I beat this infection, my body will have accomplished a Herculean feat, but so will my mindset. I used to think doctors understood health and worked to understand the intricacies of causational factors, to uncover and address the root cause of health issues. Now, I realize that a large percentage of the medical community has been educated to think in terms of large “band-aids.” A band-aid for pain, a band-aid for insomnia, a band-aid for depression. I’m not saying that all drugs are useless or unhelpful, or that some people haven’t been helped through some difficult times with the use of prescription drugs. But, it seems to me that, when many doctors ask about your problems or symptoms, they almost inevitably conclude by reaching for their prescription pads. Having a Bb infection has taught me to look past individual symptoms—like hair loss, physical pain, fatigue—and past treating them individually—as unconnected to the rest of me—to see the larger picture.

Don’t worry, though—as helpful as that realization has been, I will never say “thank you” to those infectious, devastating buggers.


Renee said...

I relate to your post so well. I do feel that covering symptoms does not get to the root cause. On the other hand our bodies need help right now ....for awhile...I take herbal antibiotics as my doctor calls them..Cat's Claw, Red Root, Chanca Piedra, etc. But I know that I also need to do what I can to have emotional health and healing, mental health and healing and spiritual health and healing. I am more than my symptoms. What does our body need to heal itself? Can it? Does what it needs change daily or weekly? Your post says what I feel...I don't want a band-aid either. I desire healing. Yet without sleep we cannot heal? I am blessed not to need something to help me sleep..but others not so much...Oh it is a complicated dis-ease we are fighting...
Why can't doctors see us...really see us?!

Lyme is real said...

Thank you for your post. I appreciate your call for no more band aids, but do not feel my antibiotics and antivirals are band aids, as they are actively fighting the infection that is waging war in my body. I do resent the years of prednisone, a horrible band aid for inflammation, prescribed when doctors thought I had Lupus. CellCept, which crippled my immune system, was not a helpful bandage either. Both drugs allowed the spirochetes free reign making recovery much more difficult. I know my prescriptions, though helpful, are not enough on their own. FAR infrared saunas, cranial-sacral massage, a gluten-free diet, healthy eating, and sleep are very much a part of my team for healing. With all the posts about Earthing, I may need to add another. Yes, Renee, it is a complicated disease we are fighting! My best to all!!

Alix said...

This is so well-said! Big Pharma controls the education in medical schools and doctors actually get continuing education credits for meeting with pharma reps over lunch! The fastest way to get to their next PAYtient is to give you a band aid. The euphemism for "Get out of my office now, you time-sucker!" is to silently hand you a prescription. Note: LLMDs and other brave docs I/we know are excepted!

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with your post, having worked in the system as an RN for 35 yrs I actually saw the delivery of healthcare deteriorate when the physicians allowed the HMOs to take control.

Unfortunately most newer providers have not been taught critical thinking or hands on exam. Computers, PDAs, algorithyms and "best practice guidelines" have taken over.

Add to that the miniscule amount of time allowed for each appointment in the day, it just doesn't work.

I agree some medications are necessary short term but especially when they cause more harm than good start to wonder why, don't just cover it up with another drug!

Ashley said...

I know exactly what you are talking about! The only prescription I ever got from a doctor that I appreciated was the one that said "Move to Baja Mexico". I couldn't find a pharmacy to fill it but I hung it on my wall and knew that my doctor really understood me.

Marc said...

Yes, and try asking a doctor about nutrition or more natural remedies. If we're ever to start saving money on health care, we'll probably need to start look for more proactive ways to prevent illness before it begins or at least start with a less extreme option than expensive drugs.

Lyme Underground said...

Sadly, the majority of doctors stopped using their brains once they graduated medical school.

Go to a neurologist, and you'll find that all they know how to do is push the standard ABC MS drugs. They don't seem to have any knowledge of other issues that can cause neurological symptoms, whether from pathogens, vascular or nutritional deficiencies, all they want to do is prescribe toxic immune-altering drugs for the rest of your life.

Go to an infectious disease doc, and you'll find that they don't have a clue about most infectious diseases, especially ones that weren't prominent when their 20-year-old textbooks were written.

Seems most docs do their required continuing education on a beach somewhere, with not a care as to improving their knowledge or their ability to help patients heal. They have a chronic case of Stagnant Brain, for lack of use for so many years. Makes one wonder if they even *remember* how to think!

You'd think that with the internet making research easier than ever before, that there would be more docs who would step outside their 20-year-old textbooks and check out current research, but, sadly, they don't.

That means it's up to us to become our own healers, and to find lyme-tolerant doctors who will support us in this.

keith (themadchemist) said...

Here Here,

I like to call the pad carrying MD's:

The McDonalds drive-thru Dr's.

"Would you like a side of Lyrica with that"

Beating Lyme has moved to the 2nd most meaningful things in my life.

1) my 25 year marriage
2) beating this disease
3) my 8 years teaching
4) my graduate degree

If your not looking at this thing as a gift, you'll be hard pressed to beat it. Bb is a battle of wills between Us and Them (Bb).

Its just a shame that Dr's are out to lunch, but as with any true problem, leave it to the people to solve, as we are.


~bean said...

I'm curious if your speaking of general doctors or of LLMD? I too hate the Rx pad! But, I've been in treatment now for almost 1 year; ABX therapy and natural alternative therapy doctor does reccommend supplements too for me...But I'm so new at this (went undiagnosed for years) and I'm realizing that there are alot of opinions on what works and what truly confuses me! I would say that I think I am making progress...I wish I could be on ALL natural, but I cant afford it. So, I'm on both. Are you advocating for only natural treatment? I want to get all the information I can!

Lyme is real said...

In my own case, I am finding benefits from both treatments. As Alix said in the comments, "LLMDs and other brave docs I/we know are excepted!"

Wishing you well in your healing journey!

Suzanne M said...

I have a GREAT team of doctors at
Sanoviv Medical Institute. Sanoviv
doctors are the docs that diagnosed me with Lyme. Look on the website and see that you can also get mental/spiritual/and emotional healing there. It is an amazing place. Suzanne at