Worried Sick – Are You Really Just in the Midst of a Conversation With…
So what is the goal of medicine? Western medicine in particular? Is it to delay death, continue life, enhance life, what exactly is the goal? In the best of medicine, western, different or otherwise; the goal should be a productive, happy, extended life. What however should we make of medicine that does not allow us to begin again being productive? What about medicine that allows us to become productive but so traumatizes us that we are no longer able to unprotected to a state of happiness? Or what about medicine that although keeping us alive doesn’t extend our life? These are some the various questions the book, Worried Sick, A prescription for health in an over treated America written by Nortin M. Hadler MD brings to mind. Is western medicine legalized, state supported quackery?
Some treatments it turns out increase our life expectancy by months. Some not at all as they simply allow other illnesses to take credit for our eventual death. As Dr. Nortin Hadler puts it you know you will die, the only question is when. To learn about medicine is to learn about death. How does it happen? When does it happen? Can we do anything to delay it? To learn about medicine is also to learn about pain. How does it start? When does it start? Is there anything we can do to avoid it?
The assumption that pain or anxiety is death has become the new age medical mantra. But is it right? Isn’t pain or anxiety truly like an internal compass that directs us in what direction to go. If we exercise too much and pain ensues doesn’t that average to decline the amount of exercise? If going on a trip makes us eager maybe we shouldn’t go on a trip. If a certain kind of work makes us eager maybe we should change the kind of work we do.
I always thought of pain or anxiety or without thereof as a message from my body. Call me crazy, but I keep a conversation going with my body, if it sends me a message, I like to listen and act in accordance. continued advertising associating pain, anxiety and discomfort with a fix that doesn’t include changing what one is doing but instead popping a pill or undergoing some form of medical treatment is great for transferring your hard earned dollars from your pocket to the doctor’s pocket but it doesn’t materially enhance your life. In fact as shown over and over in “Worried Sick” the more shared form of medical malpractice out there today is kind II – namely doctors doing the unnecessary, albeit very well (as opposed to kind I Medical malpractice, which is doctors doing the necessary unacceptably poorly. -) Heavy pharmaceutical advertising on TV, radio and print is regularly tell us to stop listening to ourselves and instead ask us to mute if not altogether turn off the quantity. Take the “easy fix” have the doctor function or assign a pill. But what if in so doing instead of returning to our former selves the treatments so prescribed leave us worse then when we started.
Maybe the right thing to do next time something hurts or produces anxiety is to listen to your body and make the small adjustments your body is asking for. Small and current pains and anxieties are part of your current conversation with yourself. “It is abnormal to go one year without upper respiratory symptoms or pain, notably backache. Lurking in our future are heartache and heartburn, shoulder and knee pain, headache, rashes and skipped heartbeats, not to mention bothersome fatigue, sore muscles, bowel irregularity, insomnia and so much else.” This is all a normal part of your own conversation with your self. To be well is to hear these messages, listen to them, rest, slow down, make changes do what your body asks and then like any conversation with a friend effectively forget the conversation and continue life as before until the next conversation. No calling the doctor, no operations, no pills, no bills, no side effects. What could be better?