I got pretty irked with the system the other night. Which system? The medical-pharmaceutical system.
Shocking, I know.
I believe there’s a staggering level of overuse and abuse of this system. I believe that the irresponsible way this system is utilized is THE reason the health of our country is worsening with each passing year.
I think people go to “The Doctor” far too much. The symptoms I hear people go to the doctor for just boggle my mind. I think people take far too many drugs. I think doctor’s prescribe far too many drugs. I think pharmaceutical companies produce too many drugs… and create far too many new “conditions” that “require” their drugs.
The system ain’t goin’ anywhere anytime soon.
It’s up to us to be smarter consumers.
It’s up to us to take care of our own health, and reserve the use of the system for true emergencies and crisis care… because that’s where it at least has the potential to shine.
Not the case with the treatment of serious, chronic, degenerative illness. Certainly not the case with the prevention of these illnesses. And don’t even kid yourself that the system could possibly help you achieve “health”.
Taking responsibility for our health doesn’t go over real well with a large segment of the population.
So, the cycle of chronic illness, and the financial damage that results, shall continue.
Anyhow, I’ve uttered a few times in recent years, that I believe pharmacists play a critical role in the current “healthcare” system (sickness care is the accurate term).
Far too many times, I’ve heard of patients being stopped by a pharmacist who has caught the fact that this patient has been prescribed duplicate drugs by multiple doctors.
Gee, I’d hope that a doctor ~ someone who has taken an oath to protect the patient ~ would have caught this before prescribing yet another drug, but, sadly, that’s often not the case.
Relax. I’m sure your doctor is great and would never let this happen. It’s everyone else’s doctors!
But the other day, the pharmacist my dad goes to for advice (Lord help me) made a big mistake, in my opinion.
Let’s back up.
One year ago, my dad began using a catheter as a result of the effects of metastatic prostate cancer. Within a week or two, he began showing signs of a bladder infection. He ended up doing some lab work to confirm, and was prescribed antibiotics.
Nothing unusual so far.
I’m not even sure how this all unfolded, but I remember Dad saying his symptoms had improved a few days later… and then we let it go after that.
I made the assumption that “the system” would take care of it. After all, it was a ‘simple’ infection.
I can be naive when it comes to trusting the system, too, evidently.
Nobody followed up with my dad. He finished the antibiotics and felt better. Not perfect, but better. He still had some symptoms, but he just assumed they were normal.
I dunno’. Hard to check on the details of someone’s bladder infection when you live in another country!
So, he had no follow up testing. No follow up doctor’s appointment to confirm that he was out-of-the-woods. Nothing.
When he told me he felt warm, then cold, then shaky, then light-headed, and so on, I had to make some calls and shake the system into action.
It wasn’t until I started making calls that I found out he had been left on his own.
Ultimately, his body hadn’t cleared the infection. It was now stronger and more gnarly than it originally was. Dad ended up with a serious kidney infection that wasn’t even ‘caught’ until after we almost lost him and he was taken by ambulance to the hospital.
Amidst my fear and deep concern at the time, I seem to recall being a bit irked then, as well.
Fast forward to the present.
He just started using a catheter again a couple weeks ago. Guess what? Yep. Signs of infection within a few days, off an on.
I said, make an appointment with your family doc to get some testing and get on it right away this time!
So, like any good parent, he ignored me.
He waited a week. Then, went to see his “good friend”, the pharmacist.
My father is a very difficult man for me to raise.
After Dad shared his symptoms with his Pharm Friend, he told Dad,
“You need an antibiotic… usually, it needs to be prescribed … BUT, wait! Let’s see if I still have your prescription on file FROM A YEAR AGO… that would save you a trip to the doctor and the lab!”
Well, isn’t that convenient?! How thoughtful.
Are you kidding me?
Remember earlier I said that I think people go to the doctor far too frequently? Yeah, well, this would have been a time to GO TO A DOCTOR… NOT a pharmacist!
The Pharm Friend explained that, by law, it’s perfectly fine for him to take a prescription that’s previously on file and re-fill it… without any consent from a doctor needed.
Sounds perfectly safe to me.
You know, just because you can do something, doesn’t always mean you should.
Where is the common sense in this one?
I know it saves a visit to the doctor and laboratory. So, it costs the system less, right?
Not if he winds up in the hospital again. Or, worse.
So, this time around, we have NO testing ahead of time at all. Silly me. I thought we were supposed to confirm a bacterial infection prior to taking antibiotics. No doctor is even aware of Dad’s situation, so there sure as heck wouldn’t be any follow-up scheduled to see how he’s doing.
I had to explain this all to my dad the other night on the phone when he told me what was going on.
Imagine, trying to speak in a calming, sweet, nurturing voice to my dad… while I’m internally steaming and disgusted by the utter lack of common sense and responsibility Pharm Friend displayed… and also, as nicely as I possibly can, scolding my dad for not following common sense protocols!
Dear God. Is it just me? Or have these people completely lost their minds?!
This is not good for MY health, let along my dad’s.
So, I gave Dad a very clear action plan. (It has to be simple, short, and ultra-clear because years of drugs, cancer treatment, poor lifestyle choices, and chronic stress have done a number on his memory.)
“Call your family doctor in the morning. Make an appointment for this week. Make sure you have lab work done. Make sure you are scheduled for a follow-up, that includes more lab work, within 2 weeks.”
“Oh, and stop going to your drug-pusher friend for health advice.”
Seriously. If you go to a pharmacist for any type of “health” advice, what do you think his recommendations will be??
Want better health and function? Ask someone else. Ask better questions.
Since many folks don’t seem ready to shake loose the notion of medicating themselves for every little thing – not that a bladder or kidney infection is a little thing by any means – we encourage people to take responsibility for one critically important piece of this drug puzzle.
Always ask, “What’s the exit strategy with this medication?”
You should not be on a drug forever.
Either it “fixes” the cause of the problem, or it doesn’t. (Good luck fixing the cause of a chronic health problem with a drug.)
In the case of an acute infection, the exit strategy is extremely critical. Obviously.
Or, at least it should be obvious.
Don’t assume. I learned that lesson the hard way!
If we start completely leaving common sense out of this drug equation, we’re sunk.
The soap box is now being returned to its resting place.
Dr. Colleen Trombley-VanHoogstraat (“Dr Mom Online”) is a leading authority figure in Natural Health & Wellness. She is a Doctor of Chiropractic with 18 years of hands-on clinical experience in the Wellness Practice she shares with her husband, Dr. Marc VanHoogstraat, in Michigan. She is also the proud (home schooling) mom of two rather fabulous youngsters.
Her unique perspective of the science of Wellness provides predictable solutions and transformational results for those struggling with chronic health issues, as well as those seeking lifelong health. To discover her simple strategies for creating better health through nutrition, movement and mindset, regularly visit http://DrMomOnline.com, http://Facebook.com/DrMomOnline and http://Twitter.com/DrMomOnline.
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