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Integrative Medicine

Story ID:6906
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:various various USA
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I was surprised today to be exposed to two illuminating experiences re our medical practices. It started with a conversation with a friend in church. Her husband Paul who is elderly as I seemed to be failing rapidly. He was in my prayers, and I rejoiced every time I saw that he was able to attend liturgy -despite appearing like death warmed over.

Because of his evident poor condition, one day I even decided to make for him a favorite Slovak dish - "halushki" which are small bite-size potatoe dumplings covered with either a sauteed shredded sweet cabbage or sauerkraut and onion mixture. Today many of us use pasta or noodles instead of the labor-intensive potatoe dumplings, so I was sure that Paul would appreciate this throwback to when we were both growing up with our Slovak moms who made this dish often for the family. And yes, he did appreciate my gesture. I counseled Rose to make them for him often to fatten him up!

I hadn't seen both of them for awhile, but today at the end of liturgy, Rose and Paul were there. Rose walked to the back of the church where I usually sit and gave me a packet of the Slovak insurance newspapers which I love to peruse. I asked her about Paul, and she blew me away when she said he was doing so much better now. Why the change? She said she stopped giving him the drugs he was being prescribed! No, this can't be. People like her (old school) always followed doctor's orders. People like me had a very hard time to do so. I found out long ago that usually the drugs being prescribed were often the product of much animal suffering in laboratories. I couldn't abide this, and today we are even finding out that many of them have serious side effects.

I am not saying that you should not have faith in your doctors. That is completely YOUR decision. But sadly I recently either read or heard on national TV news -that although we spend billions of dollars each year for our health needs, we are number 20 on a list of countries re good health. Smaller countries with much smaller medical budgets rate better overall re health care than we. So money is not the most important factor in a country's good health results.

It seems that Paul was being prescribed a drug which contained sulphur and Paul was allergic to it even though this was in his medical history. How did this gaffe slip through? I think Dr. Weil who was featured on the Dr.Oz show today offers a plausible explanation. When asked how he addresses his patients needs - the first thing he said is that he gives them TIME. Sadly he and the three other INTERGRATIVE doctors on the program acknowledged that with today's for profit-driven medicine, many of the doctors are forced to see too many patients to satisfy the corporations which employ them. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to realize that certainly this poses a problem oftentimes re their patients' care. Dr. Weil et al feel that the doctors themselves probably feel bad that they can't always give the time needed to fully address their patients' needs. Of course, some may dispute this observation.

The sad part of this story is that the four integrative doctors are not re-imbursed by our government for the medical care they dispense. People who visit them must pay out of pocket. I don't go to an integrative doctor, but I certainly would if one was close by and I felt a need. In lieu of this, I subscribe to alternative doctors' newsletters and beside a healthy vegan diet (which Dr.Weil does not wholly subscribe to) I use vitamins and supplements. I feel I'm doing something right. I'm 80 years old and in relative good health. Believe me- being 80 isn't for the faint-hearted. I find my legs don't nearly support me as well as they did when I was in my 70's. However, I still can carry bags of litter, bird seed, dog food and cases of canned cat food. I do most of the snow shoveling for my house and I cut grass and bushes in the summer.

However, less you think I'm bragging - I can't dance the Salsa like that wonderful 87 year-old woman on You Tube. If you haven't seen her there - search her out. She is an inspiration. Nor, can I run like that "spry" 91 year-old tiny Black lady featured on an ABC news channel recently. I'm amazed and I'm convinced that there is some truth in the old "saw:" -you are as old as you feel. I guess I feel 80 - though a pretty healthy one at that!