Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Entry 7: Our “Healthcare”


Disclaimer A

May. 26. 2012

This is how I see our "healthcare" (theoretically, based on what I’ve seen, read, heard and experienced):

With a heavy heart and dismal personal experiences, I ask an important question: What good is a public healthcare system when it is inadequate. It's not only failing to enhance our quality of lives, but more scarily, it's failing many of us to unnecessarily premature deaths. It does this by keeping many potential cures from us, all in the name of saving money, gaining and retaining profit.

Over the years I've observed such things as: people begging for referrals, tests, waiting months or even years to see a specialist who may or may not help them. People are even diagnosed with psychiatric illnesses in lieu of the underlying physical health issues in which have caused them in the first place. They are then prescribed psychotropics, putting them in harms' way as those medications often make the health worse.

With the growing number of chronic illnesses and allergies on the rise, and the lack of support from our public healthcare system, once the "pride and joy" of Canada, people are turning to paying hundreds and thousands out-of-pocket. They become increasingly desperate to try and regain a dwindling level of functioning.

There's different variation of this nightmare down south too. I'm not entirely clear on how other healthcare systems work, but the one thing I'm sure of is Pharma business has predominant involvement with most, particularly in North America. I've heard apparently terrible things about the American medical system too.

However, I feel it could be argued that there are some advantages to it, compared to a system in which is almost exclusively socialist at the same time as becoming increasingly (and dangerously) cheap. I can't comment much more on our southern neighbors’ medical system until I learn more about it. However, I'll say that in both Canada and the US, and to varying extents the whole world, a new business has been born: The Wellness Industry. It preys upon the upper and middle classes, sometimes in such a restrictive manner that it is only accessible to the Elite, or the middle class but while leaving them nearly high and dry too.

So what happens to the low-income and working class citizens? Those who can't afford it at all? Do natural therapies really need to cost as much as they do? On both ends of Healthcare, Conventional and Wellness, I feel that the hunger for maximizing profits has gone too far. It's leaving scores of people without access to the Healthcare they need in order to improve upon, or even ultimately save, their own lives and purpose.

I mean, is there really less money than ever before (as is being claimed)?? Or are the profiteers at the top just getting better at cherry picking and leaving the tree nearly bare? It's so sad; it seems only greed is born out of the greed. It honestly breaks my heart for so many of us.

In general, most current treatments within the public healthcare system completely revolve around pharmaceutical drugs. This in itself seems almost criminal due to one very important reason: we are, for the most part, being lied to. We are kept from the real causes of supposed "disorders" as classified in the "textbooks". Keep in mind these textbooks are predominantly written with the purpose of "educating", or brainwashing, the physicians whom we entrust our lives to.

These textbooks, which become key precedents, are written and used as educational tools. They are written with the motivation of classifying only that in which can be symptomatically alleviated by a drug once it has been tested, patented and "approved" by the FDA.

This is part of what safeguards liability, although we know full well that many pharmaceutical drugs have been directly linked to scores of illnesses and even deaths, each year. Often, when we complain of feeling unwell to our public GP, nothing is found via broad-ranging and cheap blood tests, and other "diagnostic tools.

For the most part, the “textbooks” also tailor their tools. They are created only to find particularly higher levels indicative of full-blown disease in its throes. This is, quite literally, risky business; because it's a gamble as to whether or not the disease will be so progressed that it's life threatening. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't, but one thing that's for sure is; it could've been prevented from reaching the level it had to in order to become "diagnosed."

When we want prevention, and when we are in tune with our bodies; we sense things. We sense imbalance, and pre-disease. We feel ill at ease. We want answers so we can do what is sensible, to make the necessary corrections in order to feel and function better, and to prevent more acute loss of life quality as well as potential danger.

Instead of being supported when we arrive at this place, we are often minimized, and even subtly ridiculed. We are made to feel as though nothing is really "wrong with us”; we are, therefore, hypochondriacs. This then leaves us feeling completely unsupported, helpless...depressed.

We're put in potential danger all the time. How does it happen? Our physicians' Big Boss, Pharma business, is proverbially holding a gun to their head limiting them from ordering too many tests, particularly when they are not likely to pinpoint a result indicative of a disease in which is treatable with a drug.

This is because it's big business and these people will not risk losing profits and/or not getting paid for the "investment" they are putting out ie. diagnosis of a drug-treatable illness in its full severity. They certainly do not want to risk losing their investment to over-testing, so they often under-test and leave we civilians at risk for illnesses caught too late.

Pre-disease, although it may cause many discomfort to the point of impaired functioning, is not a red-flag warning sign of an significant, severe or even eventually terminal illness. It is usually not severe enough to be responsive to the drug treatments. If it is, if will be paid more attention to; but at that point it's crossed over from pre-disease/imbalance to actual "disease."

If it's not yet disease, it is likely to be denied. This is the way mainstream, public healthcare is right now. This is why many people who want and need to feel better have to turn elsewhere, in whatever ways they can.

In addition, drug "treatment" of pre-diseases can do a lot more harm than good. The same goes for chronic illness, actually, and this is why public treatments for chronic illness are so incredibly substandard; riddled with side effects and thus overly harmful.

Medical intervention is built to be effective for acute and more serious illness (when the benefit outweighs the risk.) However chronic illnesses and/or pre-diseases are better-treated naturopathic ally, with preventative and reversing measures, all of which are not profitable to Pharma Business.

This is why chronic illnesses, such as auto immune and hormonal, are not taken very seriously by physicians (at least until they become more severe) and the patient is therefore often "left to rot" in their discomfort and agony; until they become more seriously ill.

Even then, prescribed "Band-Aid" and further damaging
"solutions" such as pain, sleep and even psychotropic medications may treat the symptoms, but come with a price; doing even more damage in their wake. Even when certain treatments, such as hormonal, can "work" for some, possibly at the price of, let's say, eventual osteoporosis (as in the case of Synthroid) they won't work for many.

These "treatments" are often riddled with some very unpleasant side effects that are not worth experiencing for any reason. However, patients are told that this is acceptable.
They are so heavily, and manipulatively reassured of this that they become willing to put up what really isn't necessary, and is actually not acceptable or right.

We are individual and biologically varied human beings. Natural, integrative and private pay doctors always take this into consideration. This is a fact, which is so blatantly obvious to me, but frustratingly, deeply denied by your average GP.

So what happens when the drugs don't "work"? (And keep in mind; even if they may seem to work, they are often doing further damage to the underlying cause/s of one's symptoms.) We then turn, in desperation, to the Wellness industry.

When we turn to Wellness, they are there for certain. They are there they are with open arms and high fees for their services, in which are much more accurate and adequate. When we can't afford that, we may do as I've done in the quest for the return of our optimal functioning. We may enact self-help research and self-administered supplementation.

Then, we spend purchasing supplements and health foods, hoping that through trial and error, we'll find the right ones and be able to at least be alleviated enough to "keep functioning."

We are particularly motivated to do this if we feel that we couldn't keep our jobs, or parent our young ones, if we are too debilitated. This is the case for me, as it is for many; and that's why I find it ludicrous to have been accused of "imagining" what I work so hard to upkeep. If I wanted to imagine, I'd probably want the pity and the medications to boot. The imagining thing just doesn't fit with the nature of my response to my health and functioning.

Although in many cases enacting self-help treatment is less costly than hiring a Naturopathic Doctor, it is still costly too. It is also without the guarantee of accuracy. No matter how smart you may be playing "doctor" with yourself always holds the frustrating risk of wasting your money and in some cases, even further harming your health.

Self help either be taken in the wrong direction, thus harming by creating further imbalance, or; it can even semi-work but mask a potentially serious developing illness. It's a risk that many take, because they/we are left with no choice. We are cornered into having to do whatever we can to function for the sake of survival, in the face of doctors not listening to us.

Self help treatment can be beneficial, sometimes always, and at least for the short term. It's ok for people who are mostly in good, or at least reasonable health, people who have mild little health quirks here and there. However, for people dealing with bona fide complex, chronic illness, self-help treatment can be very exhausting.

Though it can be enacted when there is no choice (and many, like me, will take this over the awful drugs); it is not ideal.

When if comes to health issues such as systemic autoimmune disease, and other similar chronic but, significant conditions, the guidance of a naturopathic/integrative team is what's best. It's also what's safest; and this is why things so badly need to change, especially in the face of these illnesses becoming epidemic.

There are also additional things that we cannot just "help ourselves" with, such as the alleviation of chronic migraines due to severe neck tension or chronic pain due to sports and other wear-and-tear injuries. We are pretty limited in giving ourselves certain therapies, especially physical ones (other than therapeutic exercise; which isn't often enough when you have chronic damage and/or injuries.)

What's even worse about the self help measures is that although they may at times be quite helpful, they often leave us broke and/or stressing out over a difficult game of prioritizing. This is where the nutritional and vitamin supplement companies take advantage, overpricing their well-marketed nutritional supplements and higher-quality products.

We can especially see this in certain markets such as the Gluten-free industry. An example is so-and-so (no mention of names) making a gluten free cookie out of the cheapest non-gluten flours (e.g. sorghum) and then charging as much as $10.00 for a box of them. This is over three times the amount of a conventional box of cookies. This is why (my family and I are gluten free) I seldom buy any of it, and simply make my own gluten free treats at home. I could go on with many other examples but honestly, it's just painful.

Sometimes I wish I'd never learned what I know now. However, I can't help but ask "why" and I've always been this way. I'm ultimately grateful that I do see it this way, as helpless as I may feel much of the time. On a more positive note, I'll add that there are (often in between the lines) glimmers of hope regarding managing chronic illness naturally, and on a budget. I'm still testing those waters now and would like to write more when I arrive at more concrete solutions.

What motivated me, as could be guessed, are my own chronic health issues. I continue to be on an epic quest to remiss myself of what I feel is really hindering my life's potential. Working within my limits is a massive brain tease, in which has sometimes seemed as harmful as my illness itself. I'm now being classified as "Fibromyalgia" syndrome simply because I have an umbrella cluster of symptoms that vaguely "fits."

I've been tested a little, and sometimes continue to be; but it's pretty limited. The limits of course exclude more specific and expensive tests that may be ideal for my safety. I feel this deeply in my gut, and coupled with what I know; it's hard to sit with. My own mother ended up with leukemia after years of being minimized and under-tested. I feel that more through testing may actually provide me with the answers I seek, but in my financial position; I am powerless to change this, at this time.

Ultimately, both the budgets and the egos of these medical clinicians have gotten in the way of potentially helping a young, 26 year old mother of two small children. This happens all the time. It's all because they are cheap, as we know; and also they don't like the fact that a young woman can (gasp!) could possibly show them up on in her ideas about what’s going on. How dare I, right? It’s only my body and my empirical experience… combined with new and up to date research based findings on these things, in which they refuse to look at.

It's amazing how powerfully ego, and fear too, can get in the way of compassion. It's amazing how little they listen, if one doesn't have a degree; even though people are capable of being genuinely smart without one, and even though one's own empirical experience with their own body should hold some validity. However, it doesn't seem to. I am not the only one who has to live this experience; I am one of so many.

All I really want is freedom. All I really want is to not be in pain, to not feel so fighting for energy, with this underlying physical weakness to not be so prone to injury, to not be so limited with what I eat. I long to not be ruled by my mostly limited, fluctuating energy levels, my imbalanced blood sugars and my finicky, sometimes painfully reactive gut. All of the former affects my executive functioning, which I am always, in one way or another, struggling with, due to my ASC.

I long to not be a slave to my own body's upkeep, in order to keep it from entirely letting me down. I would love to have more energy and stamina to get outdoors for hikes and to play more hands-on with my sons, more often.

Most important of all, I would love to not have to drag myself around the house, fighting for the next adrenalin surge, in a desperate struggle to meet my responsibilities of being a wife, mother and eventually a self employed artist and writer. I have hopes. I have dreams.

In the case where you just can't control something, it's sometimes best to try some acceptance…whether it is by spiritual means or not. I always forget this very simple one, and I'll admit it's difficult for me. I have this logical brain in which thinks into things and tried to find the "solutions" that can't always be found. If logic points to dismal, it's hard to find joy.

I find that in those situations writing poetry, music, or doing some is alleviating. Sometimes even just watching a movie. Although my brain often tries to interfere, I do believe in a metaphysical higher power. I have been in many situations of danger, in which I feel a guardian angel must have been with me, so I have come to "believe." In fact, I always have. Faith is all I have sometimes.

I am but an insidiously autistic, currently stay-at-home mother and wife, battle/over performance survivor, aspiring poet, singer and songwriter, and without a formal education...*sigh* Now that I'm asking these questions I feel compelled to study this area, on an economic level, before I throw out more specific opinions on how exactly gaps could be bridged. How can these systems change, how can they reform? Is there hope? Is there a way?

Still I think there are ways to restore justice to our Healthcare systems. The current injustices in Healthcare are a lot to do with mentality; old world thinking and Greed. I understand that everybody needs to make a living and therefore a profit. However, I think there are better and fairer ways to do so, especially in an industry that deals with the most personal: our healthcare.



-Rosie 

Diary of a Girl Outside The Box is also available as a fully edited/pro formatted PDF, for more info see http://www.girloutside.org/booksall 

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