Thursday, January 19, 2012

Number Crunching

One of the comments on yesterday's post re-affirmed one of my truths, that all healing is faith based. She said a friend of hers swears by the bar of Ivory soap between the sheets method of curing leg cramps at night. She thinks bumping into the soap during the night reminds her to reposition her legs. Hey, more power to her if it works! What I hope is that she has thought about also trying other things to ease her cramps. The soap trick can't work forever, right? Or maybe it can, what do I know?

Speaking of faith-based healing, I heard a story on NPR yesterday about independent medical labs that (they say) eliminate the "middle man." I think that means the doctor. Does this mean that for some of us, test results are now what we believe in, moreso than doctors? Wow. Or should I say whoa?

"From a marketing standpoint it's a good position to be in where you create a service, create a demand," says Rodney Forsman, president of the Clinical Laboratory Management Association. "It becomes a consumable like Starbucks or bottled water."

Oh. Lab tests are consumables?

I wonder if the people who partake of this consumable understand every medical test is no more than a measure of a very particular thing that's either within or outside of a set of parameters that exist only because someone decided what's "normal." These tests are not carved on tablets brought down from Mt. Sinai, they are very narrowly defined reports of one tiny aspect of internal chemistry, no more than that. None of these tests are useful out of context. Do you think they know that?

What do these people do with the results of their tests? Do they tune in to Web M.D. or other sites that claim to be accurate? (Please don't. If you must consult over the internet, go to the Mayo Clinic website which is reliable.) Remember, anyone can post anything they want on the internet. It doesn't make the information true.

I find it alarming that people can't listen to their own bodies, their own sensations and feelings of wellness or illness. I'm sad we no longer trust our doctors (I don't trust western doctors either - they are sleep deprived, their attention spans are fractured, and they depend far too often on a number that appears on a piece of paper rather than on the body and being of the individual, when diagnosing a problem.)

I don't blame anyone for wanting to take control of their own health care. God knows the medical "industry" is falling to pieces before our very eyes. But I don't believe independent medical testing is the most useful way to be proactive. Instead, find a doctor who has time to sit with you and talk, someone who cares about you, someone who still has enough of an attention span to put 2 and 2 together. When you explain how you're feeling, you want to see their eyes light up. Find a doctor who is curious and attentive. Please take care of yourself, eat well, sleep, get outside, have some fun sometimes. Receive therapeutic massage, acupuncture, go see a therapist and talk about whatever bugs you. Take care of your teeth. Please pay attention to the richness of ongoing sensation that's a part of being a living being. You are the person best suited to monitoring your health and well being. When something is off, seek some help. OK?

Forget independent testing labs. Please? And be well. Shalom.


Angela said...

I will.
Good, sound advice, Reya. I hardly ever need a doctor, as I have followed your advice, even before you gave it. Still, sometimes I do have restless legs, and then I take a magnesium pill, that makes me feel better, for what reason ever.
Of course healing has to do with belief!

The Bug said...

Last year I had some labs that alarmed my physician - she ordered a scan of my kidneys because of the labs. Everything turned out fine.

What's funny to me is that after I had the labs, but before I saw the doctor & heard her concerns I was looking up what all these numbers meant. I was convinced that I had kidney failure! As if that could happen without me noticing. Ha!

So yeah, tests are fine diagnostic tools IF YOU KNOW HOW TO READ THEM. And as you say, even then they don't tell the whole story.

Reya Mellicker said...

Dana I remember when you went through that scare - for nothing! (Thank God.)

Angela, do you receive massage? Have you told your therapist about your shaky legs? Usually a good workout of the calf muscles calms down the leg.

Or magnesium, or Ivory soap. Whatever works!

Angela said...

Calf muscles sound like small cows with muscles, snigger. Must look the word up.
No, I don`t get massage, sadly. Once when I had strained my back when painting the wall, my doctor sent me to one. I loved it so much that I fell asleep.
Afterwards I always pushed wheel barrows with horse manure (we had two horses), and that gave me wonderfully strong back muscles!

Reya Mellicker said...

Massage is a gentle, profound experience. You should give it a try, Angela. Better than magnesium! Xx