Hurricane Ida, State Emergency, and Western Medicine
Somehow I made my way through the remnants of hurricane Ida, in the face of a statewide declared flood threat emergency, and a recent return to some semblance of health, into North Campus to make photocopies for Dr. Sibcy. He had been out last week with swine flu, I had been out the beginning of this week with some kind of flu, and I found out a laundry list of other faculty were plagued with some version of the swine.
Aside from the fact that walking to my cube reminded me of the two seasons of Office Space that kept me company for the last 72 hours (I think I have a TV crush on Jim by the way), a discussion I had before I left to rest after the exhaustion of making 52 photocopies (I’m not all-the-way better yet) struck a chord with me.
“Probiotics,” he said. “When I was sick last year and the doctor prescribed me an antibiotic that didn’t work, and was writing out the second prescription for another antibiotic – those things kill everything you know, the good and the bad – I decided to take a probiotic and have been taking it every since; haven’t been sick again.”
“Practice. ” That is the term they give medical practitioners. Is it any small coincidence that the word “practice” holds two definitions: a. the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method as opposed to theories about such application; b. repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency in it.
Hmm…so when we walk into a doctors office, after waiting an inordinate amount of time for an appointment we had scheduled, and the MD takes a few minutes to assess our symptoms and diagnose our condition, we blindly take our little slips of paper to the pharmacist (who is able, at will, to adjust your prescription without informing you) and accept the white bag, containing a drug we can’t even pronounce, and proceed to follow the instructions for the next 7-10 days in hopes of aquiring “health” again.
Don’t get me wrong, Alexander Fleming did a good thing when he invented penicillin; but at what point did we stop thinking about our health and mindlessly accept the diagnosis of another human being, simply because they acquired a 7-year medical degree? Degrees that can be acquired in less expensive places like Spartan, Costa Rica, Asian, eastern Europe now 🙂
In no way am I discrediting individuals who might read this that have worked long and hard to be the best practitioners they can be, and serve the general public in the best possible way; but is Western Medicine, at its roots, really concerned with society at large? I ask you.