Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's All About the Money

I like to read. And although I enjoy fiction, I find that what really holds my interest are books that lead to some sort of outcome on my part, be it self-help and spiritual("Your Best Life Now" by Joel Osteen; "Secrets of the Vine" by Bruce Wilkinson), or books on nutrition and healing ("Prescription for Nutritional Healing" and "Prescription for Herbal Healing" by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC). I even adore certain cookbooks, such as Sophia Loren's "Recipes and Memories" (this is really just a lovely book with Italian peasant meals much like the ones I grew up with...but what makes this book wonderfully special are her various stories about her family and her enjoyable accounts of her lifetime experiences that seem to coincide with each recipe at hand). However, the book I just started reading, from what I've read so far up to Chapter Three, could've been written by me, myself, and I. I am aware that it's controversial. It's called "Natural Cures 'They' Don't Want You to Know About", by Kevin Trudeau. I'm sure some of you scoff just hearing his name.

Well, I don't. I believe him. Drugs are big business, there is no doubt. Take, for example, the advertisements for prescription drugs that NOW HAVE COMMERCIALS ON NATIONAL TELEVISION. You sure wouldn't have seen that twenty years ago. The list of side effects that they have to announce alone makes you wonder how desperate someone is to get to sleep or have some sex (more on the latter later). I actually started laughing when one of the prescription sleep drug ads warned consumers to contact their doctor if they experienced any of the following: Talking in their sleep, walking in their sleep or driving in their sleep. Yes, driving. So apparently, the FDA knows that certain people who take this sleeping pill may, in fact, get into their car wearing their nightcap and their puffy-eye gel blinders, and go for a joyride at the expense of innocent people everywhere while counting sheep at the same time. But an herbal "sleepy" tea has to have a warning attached to it that it is not approved by the FDA. My goodness.

And back to that sexual "magic" pill that of course was approved by the mostly-male FDA with no problem: Viagra. I can almost just hear them in the boardroom now...

"How much money do you think we can make off of a pill that guarantees a man an erection?? I mean, this stuff is so powerful that they might have a woody for four or five hours...but who wouldn't love that?!? And, okay, obviously most of the population that requires erectile help consists of older gentlemen who are probably on some sort of heart meds, but hey! We'll put a small warning on there not to take nitro glycerin at the same time that they decide to get frisky. When it comes to the more important organ, you know the penis will win out over the heart every time!"

I'm sorry, but to me, any organization that will approve a drug that will give a man an erection over an herb that may cure certain diseases for life is just not respectable. And I have touted this opinion for several years now, even before I started reading Kevin Trudeau's book (and a footnote here: I don't even know if he delves into Viagra. As I said, I've only gotten to Chapter Three).

Twenty-two years ago my mother died in our house. The attending physician was a new associate to our longtime family physician, who just so happened to be on vacation at the time of her death (he loved my parents, and would've been there for them in a heartbeat). I had never met this new associate, but when I spoke to him on the phone, he gave me all the comfort that I could ask for: "I don't want you to worry about a thing; if she needs more morphine to help her to not die in pain, I'll prescribe it. No matter what time of day or night that you need me, I will be at your house." What he offered to do for us was so generous...I knew this doctor was special.

Well, yes, he was special, and he was also adorable and right out of med school. After my mom's death, every ache and pain I had of course meant cancer of some major organ. "Dr. M" tolerated my bi-monthly visits with grace and aplomb, and was always understanding and kind, no matter how crazy my imagined ailment may have been. But let's fast forward about twenty years.

I still see Dr. M. Most of my family has given up on him...they said he spends one minute with them, prescribes them some new, fabulous med, and shoves them out the door. For some reason, he really does spend time with me and my brother; I'm assuming it's because we were two of his first patients, but I'm also assuming that it may have something to do with my mom being one of the first deaths he attended to. As much as I adore Dr. M., I had noticed in the past couple of years that he was way too "gung ho" about handing me samples of new drugs, and a prescription for them as well. Anti-depressants were his cure-all to everything. After he realized that I would take the samples, read the contraindications and throw the pills out, he started to beat me to it and throw the inserts out right in front of me, and then hand me the sample, stating that he really wanted me to take the pill and that it would help me; I shouldn't waste my time reading about all the side effects that most likely wouldn't happen to me.

Well, of course, being the great skeptic that I am, I started to doubt that Dr. M. was caring about my well-being at all. It really seemed like he was trying to make some sort of "sale"! It was just about this time that a friend of mine began working in his office. She told us that there was not one day she had to buy lunch because every single day of the week, lunch was catered in by one of the pharmaceutical sales reps! And I thought to myself...why? It started to become crystal clear to me just how corrupt this business of "healing" people was. No one was "healing" anyone. They were merely treating symptoms with various drugs, and apparently getting some sort of "kickback"...they didn't care what the cause of anyone's ailment was, or if it could be treated with something a little more natural. As long as the patients were sick, the doctors could benefit. If they were healthy, the doctors couldn't make a dime. It became all about the money.

What really clinches things for me are nursing homes. Not only was my dad in one; my work takes me into a very prestigious facility almost weekly to volunteer with my developmentally disabled individuals. What I have witnessed is frightening. When I asked to see my dad's med sheet, there were two pages of meds listed that he was taking. What was sad was that some of the meds were given solely to counteract symptoms caused by the other meds. What was even sadder was that my dad basically didn't even know where he was, and slept through most of his day. This is a quality of life?

When I volunteer at the nursing home in my area (where the minimal cost per month is $13,000 per patient), all I see are people sleeping through the remainder of their lives, being woken up only to take their meds and to get bathed. It really does make you wonder who is benefitting here. Certainly not the families of the patients, who have to watch them dying a slow death, sometimes for years. And most certainly not the patients themselves, who are so far gone they have no say in their own lives anymore--and they are so drugged up, they don't even care. No, I'm sorry, but the only people who stand to benefit anything at all from situations like this are the owners of the nursing home, the drug companies, the pharmaceautical companies that supply bandages, gauze, syringes, etc...and even Kimberly-Clark! There's not one nursing home patient who doesn't wear Depends. This is not speculation; this is the truth as witnessed from my own eyes.

I don't know where all the craziness will end. As a matter of fact, I don't believe it will end at all in my lifetime. It seems as though the world now worships money and power more than God Himself; I've even heard people try to reason that what they're doing is the "right" thing because they stand to make money off of it; meanwhile, what they are doing may only stand to hurt someone else. And to them, that's okay, as long as they see the green. I don't understand this way of thinking, and I don't think I ever will.


In the words of the dying, melting, Wicked Witch of the West: "OH, what a world, what a world!"

34 comments:

Shimmerrings said...

Whoa... you are right on it! I've been reading about all this for years, and my brother recently caught onto this stuff, too. I see a doctor once a year, if even that often... now, I do see chiropractors and I believe in them, strongly. Mine is a very wholistic one, too. But it has bothered me, for some time, that my mom takes so much stuff and stuff to counter-act other stff. Though she takes less of some than she did, and at least takes a bunch of natural supplements. I am somewhat worried, now, because she is a guinea pig for a new drug for pulmonary hypertension... but, she wanted to try it... she's 83, so guess she's got a right to live the remainder of her years as she wants to. Sadly, it can sometimes be too late when certain generations have looked upon the medical profession as GODS... and depended less on healing themselves through diet, excercise and other sensible means. It's a sick world (sic)... and the drug companies don't want us to be all better... they just want us to keep buying medicine. So much is still yet unexplored... and much is, but goes by the wayside, due to regulations.

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Shimmerings,

It is amazing what people get away with, isn't it?

I will say that in the case of a diseased organ or body part, it's wonderful to have someone around who can remove it. Right now I feel wonderful with no fatigue anymore after having my uterus and ovary out, and they were full of fibroids that would only go away after total menopause anyway, which could be years from now.

I believe in chiropractors also, but I have found that not all of them work the same way, and like conventional doctors, there are quacks. Out of the seven or so that I've been to, only the first one and the last one actually made me feel better (one guy had more "gadgets" than I care to mention, and he seemed to get more pleasure out of using those than actually relieving pain). The guy I go to now works on me face-up with no funky table that collapses. He's also only one of five doctors in my state who are licensed to practice "craniopathy", the adjusting of the skull. I've let him work on my kids since they were young, although all of us haven't been to him in some time (and we're all really due to go)! He has helped even the most skeptical person in my family, my cousin, and she now brings her whole family to see him.

I think all of this nonsense will only end when people educate themselves and stop believing the lies that the FDA tells everyone. It's pretty much black and white; herbs have been legal and used for years in other countries such as Germany with no adverse effects to their consumers. But the FDA will have you believe that it's all hocus pocus.

Quick point about herbal vs. conventional treatment:

I was diagnosed by Dr. M. with a high count of h-pylori bacteria in my stomach, which can be a pre-cursor to an ulcer (I was having a lot of stomach issues at the time). He told me the standard treatment was not with one, but TWO different antibiotics, and the course of treatment was three weeks! I immediately went home and looked up natural cures for h-pylori on the internet. I found repeatedly something called "Mastic Gum" that has been used for centuries in Greece and elsewhere overseas to treat stomach ailments. I ordered some (it's not really available in the stores around here, only one store had it and they were 40 minutes away) and followed the course of treatment. I went back in three weeks, got tested again, and my count went WAYYY down! I told Dr. M. I didn't use the antibiotics at all and that I used the mastic gum, and he was not impressed and could care less. It was almost like he wasn't hearing me or paying attention.

I also don't get the flu shot because I don't believe the BS they hand everyone. Amazing how the FDA knows exactly what strain will hit us before it happens every year, and ironically, it's never the same strain that has hit us in the past. And then they tell you that you could get the flu, anyway, even if you have the vaccine. Well, why is that? I think it's all big business and a good immune system to begin with is key.

Makes you wonder, doesn't it??

Shimmerrings said...

My mother got a flue shot last week and she has been not feeling well all week. But she is afraid not to get it because of her pulmonary hypertension. Everytime she gets sick it takes her a really long time to recover. But we really believe that shot is what has her feeling so down. I've had cranio-sacral work done on me before too. And no, your regular medical doctor doesn't want to hear about our natural cures. I once had a doctor throw me out of his office because he thouht I was bad mouthing this other doctor I had gone to. The doctor had diagnosed me with a sinus infection (which I knew I did not have)... the one who kicked me out diagnosed me with mononucleosis... it was really weird... perhaps the doctor was offended because he was guilty of quackery himself. At least my mother is trying some natural supplements now. When I first started talking aboutu them years ago she wouldn't hear of taking any of that stuff... then when my sister and brother go onto them she started coming around.

Guilty Secret said...

What a very interesting post. I am intrigued about this book now.

I agree about the drugs companies... drugs rackets more like. I am glad it isn't quite so bad over here. (Prescription drugs are not advertised, and with the NHS it is not in doctors' interest to prescribe you anything you don't truly need.)

That big about driving in your sleep was so shocking!

Carine said...

good post Lisa, we all need to think a bit more about what's out there (drugwise)and if we really need what is available. Got to get the book.

Big Dave T said...

Gee, your blog could really get me started here. As someone who unfortunately has to rely on drugs right now, I could respond volumes.

Of course, you're right, though. I really wouldn't have to add anything. But let me just add one thing here. At the prestigious local medical center, they actually have a Pfizer (or some other drug company) doctor of Internal Medicine. Isn't that nuts? When big pharma can seemingly purchase sponsorships of medical school physicians, there's something radically wrong.

Loving Annie said...

You are right, Lisa, and very eloqent on what you found - it is so prevalent in our culture. Qucik fixes and the bottom line obscure taking time and caring. It costs too much - but at what cost to human trust and quality of life ?

simply me said...

Great Post - Everything is about the almighty Dollar. Our Nation is run by people who are run by money. How can it end? Not in this lifetime. There is way to much selfishness and greed to stop.

Mark said...

Lisa,
Great article! Our medical system is a mess. We are an overprescribed society. Between the FDA, the drug companies and the fear of a malpractice suit for not diagnosing something the doctors do not practice healing, they practice salesmanship and covering their asses. Once a nobel proffession has taken a nose dive.
It is a shame that the want of money has a higher priority than the health of a person.

Matty said...

Lisa,
Love doesn't make the world go round...love of money does. We have to educate ourselves...I have a dr as well who will give me whatever I ask for without checking if I need it...and there is a shortage of dr's who are taking on new patients...so you have to fight to be taken seriously.
My mother's Dr told me 2 years ago to call the family,,as it was my mom's time to go. I believed him, he was her dr. for 20 years...but once she got a new dr...they realized that poor mom was over-medicated..they cut her down from 20 pills to 8..and 2 years later she is still going strong.
Double check everything,,get 2nd and 3rd opinions...trust nobody.

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Shimmerings,

I believe the flu shot could make her feel sick, a lot of vaccines can and do make people ill. I was recommended by my job to get the Hep B vaccine, but have yet to do so. I just don't feel a peace about it, even though I will probably give it to my daughter once she goes off to college. I'd rather not, but my kids are not as good at keeping their immune systems in check as we adults are. So unless I hear of a natural alternative to that vaccine or the meningitis one, I will most likely allow her to receive them.

And about your mom...At least she started to come around, even if your siblings got all the credit for it!!

Take good care,
Lisa

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Guilty Secret,

You have no idea how lucky you are to live in your country as far as healthcare goes. Americans have lost all sense of morality. There is absolutely NO REASON why we can't have a national health care system in place, with the exception that everyone in the medical industry stands to lose millions of dollars. It is a SICK society over here, both literally and figuratively.

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Guilty Secret,

I hit the enter button too soon, sorry...but anyway, the book is worth checking out because it has some natural remedies in it and other items of interest!

Take good care,
DB

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Carine,

The book thus far has held my interest, and has even frightened me a little bit. Years ago, this stuff would've read like science fiction, but to think that some of this really has to be fact is just scary.

Take good care,
Lisa

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Dave,

All I can say is have you looked for natural remedies on the internet for what ails you? Sometimes, they really do work (see my first comment to Shimmerings at the top)! Of course, I'm not a specialist. But most of us really have been trained to believe that this is as good as it gets. Tell me; you're not that old. Will you be on these drugs for the rest of your life? Has anyone given you any hope otherwise? Think about it.

Take good care,
Lisa

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Loving Annie,

I don't trust anyone anymore. My trust in doctors started to fail after the whole fiasco with my mom over tweny-two years ago, which I mentioned to Shimmerings above (there was also an incident where the oncologist told my mom that the lump she felt was a hernia from her heaving during chemo...our family physician diagnosed it as a recurring cancerous tumor three weeks later). I probably never will trust any doctor again, which is pretty frightening when you think about it.

Take good care,
Lisa

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Simply Me,

Amen to that. It's sad, but so, so true. How do people sleep at night, that's all I want to know.

XOXO

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Mark,

"CYA" and "SHOW ME THE MONEY"...that's all it's about, it's true, and very, very sad. If I could, I would leave the country. Seriously. A quiet life in Italy sounds better and better every day. And I'll grow my own garlic and grapes and make my own wine...that'll cure any ol' thing!!

Take good care,
Lisa

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Matty,

That is not the first time I've heard a story like that. Thank God your mom got a second opinion!! My aunt was given three months to live after her breast cancer metastasized into her bones...but she lived eight more YEARS due to some experimental treatments in another state (Colorado). I wonder had she gone to CO sooner, would she still be here today?

Take good care,
Lisa

Kacey said...

Hi Sweetie --- Great post on the short-comings of our health care system. The hubby and I have been taking turns this summer getting our parts fixed. I had a carotid endarterectomy in Aug. and he had a Total Knee Replacement the 1st of Oct. I am having a serious surgery on the 12th and if all goes well, we will head to Florida and the "Land of Lazy" very soon.
Doctors do shuffle you about and it's hard to keep track of everything and get all your medical issues in order if you are going to live six month in another state.
My brother was dumpped into a nursing home by his loving wife this summer and it was exactly as you described. He was drugged to the max and put into "briefs" (Depends), even when he still had the ability to use the bathroom. Last week his daughter-in-law had him transferred to Hospice, but nobody intended to stay with him through the night. So, I stayed and held his hand and told him that I would not leave him, even though he appeared unresponsive.
His wife had not seen him in days and he died that night. Something is wrong with pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, hospitals, doctors and most of all families --- we are getting old and nobody wants the responsibility to care for us to the very end.

Betty said...

Dear Dust-bunny,

I've been suspicious of the medical field for many years. Even though I've read a lot on this topic, I was still shocked to read about the catered lunches from the drug companies in your the doctor's office. I used to know a woman who worked as a pharmeceutical rep, so I know about the lavish expense accounts these people use to entice doctors.
It's sickening.

I've decided to spend my money on natural remedies, a Chinese Chi master, and a medical clairvoyant (who says all I need are vitamin A and trace minerals). Hopefully, I'll never have to enter the traditional health care system!

Oh, and I have that Trudeau book, too! I'm with you all the way, Dust-bunny!

Paul said...

Not sure if you'd started visiting my blog yet then, but a few months back I did a series of posts on health care. Fourteen years of continual contact with health care from a progressive disease confirms your view that it's become all about money.

Most industries - and certainly politics - have gone that route. For example, some huge fraction of all books published in the US, up in the eighties, are churned out by one of several multimedia conglomerates that coordinate the book, the movie, radio/TV author interview blitzkriegs, etc. It's the marketing team and not editors who decide what gets published, and that depends on what kind of "marketing platform" the author has. Book quality isn't much of a consideration.

Of course businesses need to make money, but I think that in the past, they also were interested in their work for itself. It wasn't all about doing every possible thing to make this year's profit margin higher than last year's.

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Kacey,

I'm so sorry for the loss of your brother. It sounds like the end of his life was very sad. I'm sure he was comforted by your presence, and thankful for it.

I hope all goes well with your surgery. You've been through a lot this summer, and I know it must be difficult. I'm sure that your surgery is going to go beautifully, and I also hope that your hubby is feeling well, also!

I do know that sometimes surgery is the only option, especially in my situation (I had tried many, many natural and synthetic treatments for my problem over the years). I was not only getting abnormally heavy periods, I was physically drained all month long (I constantly joked that I only had "2 good days a month"--but it wasn't a joke, it was my reality). I started to notice 6 weeks after my surgery that I had a great sense of well-being, and a whole lot of energy that I hadn't felt in years--literally, years. So in my case, surgery was a cure, and I was thankful to have the option.

Good luck to you and God bless you! Let us know how you make out.

Take good care,
db

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Betty,

I don't know much about Mr. Trudeau and haven't had time to read all of his pros and cons on the internet, but his book is certainly food for thought. Most of it makes perfect sense.

We really live in the matrix...what we think is our perfect, free way of living is really nothing more than a world that's controlled by big business and government. I know that's an awfully paranoid statement, but honestly, I think we all have no idea just how controlled we all are.

I'm glad you're working on your well-being in a natural way. I myself am looking forward to getting back into yoga...I really miss the relaxation (and my nice, toned arms, lol).

Take good care,
Lisa

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Paul,

I didn't read your blogs on health care, but I'll be sure to go into your archives when I have time.

I'm assuming that you have some sort of ailment and have met with your share of undesirables in the healthcare industry. I hope you have found some sort of solution to this problem.

I imagine the reason we see so much "self-publishing" lately could be linked to what you're saying about conglomerates controlling who and what to publish. It's amazing how they even try to control what we read. Almost reminiscent of another place and time in history.

I don't see much quality in anything lately. I just heard about e-coli being found in a popular frozen pizza the other day, and there was e-coli at several Taco Bells in my area last year. It's one thing if the employees are being negligent by not washing their hands properly, etc...but who's in charge of quality control? If you're going to take on the responsibility of that position, you can't close your eyes to what goes on around you because it's convenient or cost-effective. I myself was in quality control for a financial company, and since they wrote my paychecks, they expected me to approve everything at any cost, including having me do things that were considered illegal. At one point, I was so stressed that I drove myself straight to the emergency room because I thought I was having a heart attack (which of course turned out to be an anxiety attack). Within days of that incident, I put in my resignation. And yes, I told them exactly why I was leaving. What amazes me is how one employee got so fed up with me for not conforming, and took over the files and "cleaned them up" herself. Where was her concience? She was a young woman, perhaps only 25 or 26. It was a really sad statement on the values of today's society.

Hope you're feeling well.

Take good care,
db

LZ Blogger said...

Lisa ~ Italian peasant meals? ... ENOUGH SAID... Count me IN! ~ jb///

annie said...

So sad, so true.
The little plastic foot orthotics we last ordered for Izzy were over $3000. They are small and plastic. The last wheelchair we got (not motorized) was over $8000. Amazing.
What a world. It seems like big business preys on the needs of people.
I'm still minus a laptop :(... but am checking email on matt's computer and wanted to stop by and say hello and send blessings your way.
♥!
Annie

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Jerry,

Yuummm...yes, Ms. Loren has some really tasty, simple, old-fashioned meals in there, and they remind me of my childhood. There's nothing like a good pot of gravy with homemade beef bracciole and a nice glass of red!!

Take good care,
Lisa

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Annie,

You know, I just don't see how people live with themselves. Three thousand dollars for plastic orthotics?? Someone has to put the pricetag on orthotics and wheelchairs, you know? That's the guy who really needs a good dose of reality. What an outrage.

I sure hope your insurance company helps you out a little. But that's a whole other story, I'm sure.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you get your laptop fixed soon!

Take good care,
Lisa

Big Dave T said...

Lisa,

Just wanted to let you know that, per your request, I put up a picture of my "scary" Michael Jackson on my latest blog.

And to answer your question you put earlier here, I'm really in charge of my own destiny with my drug situation. Since I'm a Type 2 diabetic, if I lose a significant amount of weight, I probably would end much of my drug dependency. But then I wouldn't be Big Dave anymore. Life's full of tough choices.

Matthew said...

This is a great post. I totally agree, there are far to many drugs on the market, and these corporate "fat cats" could care less about human lives. It's all about the bottom line. I do have to say that Kevin Tradeau is not telling us anything we don't already know. Secret Cures? Give me a break. Perfect example, using Baking Soda for heartburn...
What do you think is the main ingredient in Tums and Rolaids. Oh yeah, let's not forget that this guy has been in Jail for fraud, and more....You want nature cures, go to a holistic doctor and dont' give this smuck a dime of your money!!!!

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Big Dave,

After intense study for personal training and nutrition, I learned that type 2 diabetes is one of the more serious ailments that can actually be altered by natural means, without help from anything synthetic. You are right, merely by losing weight and exercising, you could probably put your diabetes into control (unlike type 1, in which your body doesn't produce insulin, type 2 allows insulin production, but the body is suppressed for various reasons from processing it correctly).

I hear what you're saying about lifestyle changes. It is really, really hard, whether it's diet-related, financial-related, procrastination...change is never easy. But you might want to look at the bigger picture twenty years from now. Diabetes, type 2 included, causes all sorts of other debilitating ailments as the body ages. I see it all the time in the nursing home we volunteer in, and some of it ain't pretty! I'm sorry I'm on my soapbox...but if I didn't care, I wouldn't say a thing!

Take good care (of yourself!!),
Lisa

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Matthew,

Unfortunately, I am starting to realize that what you are saying is correct. My bad for not informing myself sooner...but thanks for inspiring today's post!

...And thanks for stopping by. Would love to know how you found the site...I think your site is a great idea!

Take good care,
Lisa

Matthew said...

Lisa,
Thanks for kind words. Again, great post, as it brought many different views to the site. I been here before, from Mark's site, Annies site, and a few others. I have www.onekindact.com and www.thewinningattitude.com...

Best,
Matthew