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Where's My Medicine?!?!?
doctors even care? Do patients even listen?
your prescription. Maggie will schedule an appointment for your
maybe your diagnosis is shorter. Maybe you were told you have
high cholesterol, or high blood pressure. Maybe
you were told your age is responsible for bringing you insulin
resistance or metabolic syndrome.
you were told that many moms your age deal with thyroid issues,
or arthritis is common among former athletes when they hit their
40's. Whatever the specific diagnosis, the process is often the
same. The doctor gives you a label that correlates with a code.
With that code your insurance will cover your prescription.
seems to be the paradigm for the not-sick-but-not-well. Lots of
people fall into that category.
is a difficult article to write. It's lengthy. It crosses boundaries.
It will raise eyebrows and emotions. It's written for the individual
seeking physical improvement, but it will be reviewed by medical
professionals and fitness professionals, many of whom might have
strong opinions contradictory to my own. Know in advance . . .
everything you read here is grounded in sincerity, and my future,
as I move through my third decade as a fitness professional, is
stacked upon the passionate want to empower people to find mastery
over their own health and well being. With that said, I'll step
forward by further delving into how and where the population at
large interacts with those who we refer to as, "doctor."
Do You Go To Get "Better?"
you're near-dying you go to the hospital. If you have a minor
trauma like a broken finger, a nagging fever, or an erupting blue
blister where you accidentally whacked yourself with a hammer,
you go to the Urgent Care center. If you just don't feel well,
you need a check-up, or you're dealing with a chronic annoyance
you make an appointment to see the doctor. You can prepare to
wait in a waiting room, get weighed and questioned by a nurse
or nurse practitioner, and you can expect, within the hour you
spend in the office, to see the doc or a physician's assistant
for all of six minutes. That's enough to get you the label and
you're a doctor and you're reading this, you're heating up a bit.
I know you are, and I've barely even gotten started.
heard the slams recently aimed at your esteemed profession. I've
heard them as well. Here are some actual quotes from people I've
spoken with very recently.
brash. It's global, it's insulting and it doesn't pretend to
pull any punches. When I heard it, it came from the mouth of
a former football player dealing with arthritic pain and a growing
. . .
done with doctors. My
chiropractor is the only one I trust."
a 36-year old police officer with high cholesterol and chronic
low back pain.
I consult with individuals seeking betterment, individuals frustrated
by changes taking place in their mirrors and in their lab results,
there seems to be a want to point a finger at conventional medicine
and throw a quick dart.
momentary affront is often followed by a comparison.
63-year old woman spent 20 minutes in a consultation with me going
through her medication list. She then, paused, eased into her
own imagination, and expressed a memory that she wished she didn't
have to detach from.
remember when I was a little girl,
Dr. Schaefer would see my whole family for check ups. We knew him, we knew his wife, we knew his kids,
and he really cared. Doctors
aren’t like that anymore."
understand the perspectives. I’ve met the frustrated patients and, although
I couldn't have made the following statement before the age of
45, I can now, at 49, say . . . I’ve been on the patient end.
Perspective From The Impatient Patient Side of Things
not only understand the expressed sentiments because within my
professional consultations I hear them so frequently, but I also
understand them because I've felt the emotions that prompt them.
I have felt the "doctors suck" emotion, although
it was less of a rational affirmation than a reactional prompt
to the sense of hitting the wall, running into a dead end without
I have felt the emotion that leads to the words, "doctors
suck." Conversely, I have several doctors as close friends
and I hold extreme admiration for every one of them. I am also
connected professionally with a handful of doctors I feel deserve
extreme recognition for their talents and abilities, and I’ve
met enough doctors over the past year to recognize,
they all have deep knowledge, they all are committed to their
professions, and despite individual differences, they ALL maintain
I know better than to believe any global statement condemning
medical professionals stems from anything other than pure emotion.
Every doctor deserves admiration for the discipline, commitment,
and perseverance summoned up to manage the progression through
medical school, internship, and the practice that follows. Doctors
don't suck. It does appear, however, based upon scores of personal
discussions with doctors of all levels, the current medical system
limits them, pigeonholes them, and unfortunately, comes with a
rift between their ability and their ability to manage a patient
there doctors who have found their footing and stayed with their
early aspirations despite the overwhelming tendency to cave to
the present paradigm? Of course there are, but the 21st
century is not an embracing place for the man or woman who had
those aspirations of being “the good old family doctor”
63-year-old client longed for.
will share what I believe the be the paradox, the enigmatic puzzle
that seeks to pull the pieces of patient need together
with medical treatment, but first. . . . I mentioned I
have felt the emotions that come with a sense of being disheartened
by conventional medicine. While I realize it adds length to an
already heavily worded article, I feel it vital to inject a glimpse
into some of the experiences that helped to shape my present perspectives.
the short version of my journey into the patient side of the medical
my office was destroyed and flooded by a hurricane.
I spent 3 months inside the four walls, paying contractors
to tear out rotting drywall, bust open tattered A/C ducts, tear
up mildew-ridden carpet, rebuild, repaint, reglue,
and repaste. Shortly thereafter, as the office began to take
shape, as my fitness center and personal training studio began
to look as good as new, I had trouble breathing.
Through a series of doctor visits I was directed to an
allergist. After a series of tests he told me I was allergic
to cats, grasses and dust. He
referred me to a pulmonologist where I was diagnosed with emphysema,
given prescriptions for inhalers,
corticosteriods, and sent for albuterol nebulizer treatments whenever
I couldn’t breathe, which was often.
As time went on I developed problems with my vision and
the eye doctor said I had erratic function of the optic nerve.
I lost my ability to distinguish colors and 2 weeks later
I developed numbness in my hands and feet followed by the rapid
onset of tremors. On
the day that I couldn’t tie my shoes because my fingers didn’t
work, I went to the ER. Subsequently I saw neurologists, went for MRI's, cat scans, brains scans, and electro-everything
tests, and at the end of the testing process sat in front of
a neurologist who handed me prescriptions sheets as he diagnosed
me with Parkinson’s Disease.
That was the moment I hated the medical field. It wasn’t the diagnosis as much as the calloused
way the diagnosis was delivered, and then it was “fill your
prescriptions and move on, I have someone else's life I have
to destroy.” No, that isn’t exactly what was said, but put
yourself in my position and you’ll understand why I heard it
that way. I had never been sick a day in my life and in
a matter of months I went from emphysema to Parkinson's
with no mention of hope beyond, "with medication you can
have a good quality of life for many years." That moment
began what proved to be the worst 24 hours of my life. Then
something clicked. I decided I wasn't going to be victimized
by one man's diagnosis and I continued to explore.
the long story short. I didn’t have emphysema,
nor do I have Parkinson's I had inhaled super high levels of toxic mold
and with it, a host of chemicals used in construction materials. The end result was a neurotoxic
reaction that threw the systems of my body into mayhem. I thankfully found three wonderful doctors in
three different parts of the country who helped me understand
what had happened, and helped me get back to normal function.
Today I'm left with some
residual compromise, but not a one I'd be willing to complain
about. Emotional roller coaster aside, I can honestly say at
this point I treasure the entire experience.
It allowed me to be the patient, to feel the helplessness,
to be viewed as a puzzle that needed to be solved with a prescription,
and to be lost in a sea of patients reaching out to the medical
field for answers.
better understand the plight of those
diagnosed with hypothyroidism who are
given a prescription for synthroid and
told to accept it as a normal part of aging.
I empathize fully with young fathers who fear illness when the
doctor tells them they have metabolic syndrome, syndrome X, or
type 2 diabetes, and hands them prescription sheets as they’re
ushered out the door.
I wonder how many who are living their lives as if they
have incurable autoimmune diseases, Parkinson's, MS, lupus, or a host of other non-specific conditions
were wrongly diagnosed.
sent me on my most recent mission and led me to develop the
ALIVE protocol, now in use with select
clients as a vehicle to lead to physical betterment.
what I now understand . . .
pulmonologist who sent me the way of inhalers and corticosteroids
is a very nice, very well educated, very committed man. He has
a family. He’s in his 50’s.
He’s been practicing medicine for decades.
He has a patient load beyond what is comfortable, a staff
beyond anything he ever wished for, a need to keep records that
falls way outside of what he ever imagined he’d have to do professionally, and, although he
makes a good living, he isn’t “wealthy” at the level others think
he is. He has kids in college, has a home to maintain,
an ex-wife who did well in the divorce, and lots of headaches
he’d love to trade for days on the golf course.
He works hard, he does what he has to do, and he doesn’t
have enough of him to go around.
He follows protocol, stays within his specialty,
bills within the insurance paradigms, prescribes labs and meds
as he’s supposed to, and he’s entertained by drug reps who
make prescription easy. I’m
simply one of thousands who have passed through his revolving
neurologist is a surgeon and spends more time with his unconscious
patients than he does with the conscious ones. Every one of his patients is dealing with extreme
emotion, uncertainty, and fear, and
if he were to get sucked into even 1/10th of their
emotional concerns, he’d become emotional mush, and nobody wants
an emotional mush to operate on their
understanding wouldn’t have made it any easier for me on the patient
end, but as an observer seeking to help the unwell
part of our population, the perspective I’ve gained brings immense
new power. I
applaud the amazing advances of medicine. I've gained insights
into genetic research and the possibilities are staggering. The
Human Genome Project brough great minds to find belief in the
"anything is possible" axiom. While the actual science
is stunning, and the potential for halting or reversing many of
the symptoms and conditions we've come to mistakenly accept as
realities of aging is real, there's a gaping chasm between scientific
discoveries and the availability of promising treatment options.
I'm awed by science, I also acknowledge the impact of money-driven
pharmaceutical giants, litigious attorneys finding jackpots in
malpractice suits, understaffed overloaded hospitals, private
practice groups capitalizing on doctor's talents without respecting
their contributions, a population in want of a miracle fix, and
a system of HMO's and PPO's that has run so out of control I feel
for whatever powers seek to find resolve.
emotions and perspectives aside, here’s the huge paradox
I'd ask you to consider.
cannot be responsible, and patients cannot be accountable.
a problem. Allow me to explain.
who wish to rely upon doctors when we have health concerns, believe
there should be professional responsibility.
little that can questioned about the morality behind the statement,
“you’re highly educated, you’re an expert in your field, you’ve
been trained to treat the patient’s condition, and in that you
should accept full responsibility for the outcome.”
family doctor or surgeon in 1972 might have accepted the responsibility
with a nod, a handshake, or a simple smile signifying, "of
course I'm responsible."
was before malpractice insurance ate up 1/3 of the doctor’s income.
That was before society became so litigious that lawyers
can find riches hunting down clients who have the weaponry to
sue medical firms for damages.
was a time before foods contained hydrogenated fats and high fructose
corn syrup, a time before formaldehyde was used in carpet and
furniture, a time before drug companies put out drugs faster than
those releases could be proven safe.
was a time before people sat at their kitchen tables and accessed
a mix of science and bunk on their laptop computers trying to
determine whether they have a pimple, a fatty tumor, a tick bite,
or a cutaneous eruption indicating the
presence of a killer flesh eating bacteria.
lines of medical need, medical care, and medical alternative have
become blurry, and with an uncertain, litigiously hungry, unwell
population, even the most talented physician has to be able to
find protection from risk, error, and external forces playing
against the intended outcome.
doctors agree that they are catalysts, diagnosticians, and practitioners,
but can they really be fully responsible?
bottom line in most 21st century conditions is patient
accountability. After all, the doctor can control cholesterol, blood
pressure, or blood sugar through meds, but that doesn't alleviate
the patient from having to exert some level of self-care. If a
patient is prescribed medication to preserve a compromised heart,
and feasts on deep fried artery cloggers day after day, the doctor
can't be blamed.
In that lies the paradox; professional
responsibility vs. patient accountability.
is to blame for treatable illness advancing?
advancement of treatable illness is a pervading reality. Type
2 diabetes, which has arguably reached epidemic proportions, is
perhaps fully preventable and in many cases reversible. Most of
the risk factors of heart disease and perhaps of cancer are outcomes
brought about by individual choice. Nobody wants to be an overweight
smoker . . . or an overeater seeking tranquility with antidepressants,
but we all know many such individuals.
you agree that even some of these statements are representative
of the real world, it’s clear that the physician cannot be wholly
responsible. To further
move the blame scope away from the doctor, we can acknowledge
that when confronting a patient with a fixable condition, or a
controllable progression, any sound physician will advise a patient
to "eat right and exercise." If the patient comes back months later with
advancement of symptoms, it’s clearly the patients fault. Right?
necessarily (continued below).
Right and What?
doctor knows the patient should eat right and exercise.
The patient knows he or she should eat right and exercise.
If everyone listened to their doctors, there wouldn’t be
an overweight smoker anywhere in the world.
The first glance tendency is to therefore throw the blame
over to the patient side . . . until you spend some time interviewing
overweight smokers. I've met them. I've spoken with them. I've
coached them. I understand them . . . at least some of them, and
the ones I understand needed more than advice, more than prescription,
and more than a new menu and a bit of willpower. They needed a
system mixing clear direction, coaching, appropriate treatment,
and the gradual and long-term instilling of new supportive habits.They
needed support, empowerment, education, and evidence. They needed
a proven protocol that respects both medical science and personal
know this is beginning to resemble a ping pong match, with blame
shifting from side to side, and it should. That's a perfect metaphor
for the paradoxical question of blame in this regard.
smokers try. They really
try. I'm sure you can find
an exception, but in my professional pursuits, I meet smokers
who detest their habits, and of those who are overweight,not a
one of them defends the condition. The problem in most cases isn’t a death wish or a lack of innate willpower. The problem is, misinformation.
The patient, even with good intentions, doesn’t know how
to eat and exercise in a manner that moves him or her along the
continuum back toward health.
An extended walking program combined with caloric deprivation
is likely to slow metabolism, lead to unintentionally
self-induced cravings, affect neurotransmission and mood, bring
about endocrine shifts primarily in
thyroid and pancreatic function, and leave the patient, despite
a valiant attempt, worse off.
first cigarette offers a familiar and oddly comfortable resignation.
Whatever prescriptions are accessible allow for a soft landing
and justification of the abandonment of the flawed effort.
a non-pilot to take the controls at 20,000 feet and you're pretty
certain to crash. Ask someone who hasn't been given the user's
manual for the human machine to take the controls and the same
is true. Some believe eat right means eat less, others believe
it means eat natural. Some will opt for organic, others will throw
away carbohydrates, and the only unifying trait they all share
is movement toward failure resulting from misinformation.
doctor isn’t to blame, nor is the patient A technologically-addicted,
undereducated, overindulgent society needs a more aggressive educational
and instructional intervention.
is a platform between medicine and fitness that must be developed
and populated, and that’s the platform
upon which I built the ALIVE
doctor wants to help. If
you aren't seriously ill, if you aren't on the brink of physical
crisis, the medical paradigm limits the doctor's ability to assist
you at the level you’d like.
your patient wants to follow your advice, but he or she has
to understand precisely what that entails,
not at a macro level, but at a micro level.
me on that platform and I’ll move patients back toward health.
I’ll show you how shifts in eating and movement can improve
lymphatic cleansing of the body. I'll demonstrate how anyone who
wishes to return to a prior condition can restore movement and
strength. I'll demonstrate how anyone can bolster energy stores
until there's a reacquaintance with that “on top of the world”
you struggle with dis-ease or chronic
conditions that limit you, I’ll provide you a vehicle for true
accountability, for optimizing the systems and structures of your
body, and you’ll do it in a way that is harmonious with any intentions
your doctors have.
true fitness, may very well be the missing piece of the puzzle.
It facilitates enhanced neurtransmission, restores comprosmied
endocrine function, and instills a sense of power that begets
adherence and follow through. Yes, you can be response-able with
the proper guidance and the necessary follow-through.
Your Personal Trainer Have the Solution?
all fitness professionals and personal trainers able to stand
upon the platform I'm describing? Are they all capable or restoring
the unwell to health?
ready for the argument, the criticism, and the skepticism. I'm
ready for the personal training discussion boards to attack my
arrogance and insist I'm blowing smoke. Here's one more dose of
reality. Nobody oversees the fitness field. Anyone can become
a personal trainer in a matter of weeks, or days in some cases,
and competence is not a requirement. Unfortunately, many personal
trainers who sat for exams, and received credentials associated
with those exams, believe they're competent and those trainers
may be offended by my words. I hope they'll consider there may
be some truth to my assertions.
platform I'm describing, the area that melds patient responsibility
with guidance, consideration of the synergistic relationship between
ingestion and output, the gray area that can serve as the vehicle
to move the unwell back toward health, requires a skill set not
required in the field of personal training. It requires a multi-faceted
protocol, one that has been reviewed by experts, one that has
been proven sound, and one that has a body of evidence to support
time to recognize the platform that bridges the gap, the platform
upon which medicine and individuals meet, where responsibility
you're a medical professional or someone seeking physical change,
contact me with your present interests, needs, and concerns to
open up further dialogue related to my
Read my Seven
Letters and evaluate whether, with a better understanding
of the information I share, you are ready to believe you can take
you are a fitness professional, and you feel
there may be some validity to my heartfelt statements, I ask you
to recognize that conventional personal training curriculum is
only a first step toward standing upon the platform I'm spotlighting.
professionals, with the proper education and skill set, can
empower. We can aggressively
intervene. We can recognize
dis-ease as a continuum, and while we cannot make illness vanish,
we can move our clients back along the continuum, back toward
few personal fitness trainers who respect the level of commitment
required to stand upon the platform should take steps to work
alongside medicine, taking a place as part of the allied health
care team. If you agree, consider my Be
Better program for fitness professionals, and if you want
to share your views, I'm
covered lots of ground in an article that mixed perspective and
emotion. My intention is simple.
want anyone seeking betterment to know, there are solutions, and
limiting attempts at betterment to wishing the doctor presents
salvation is going to leave you short of optimal health.
and well being do require responsibility, but you don't have to
be on your own. Be proactive, take responsiblity for learning
to manage your own physical condition, and if the concept of follow-through
in the past has left you compromised, find a better resource for
empowerment. Find a fitness professional who works with your doctor,
who aligns with any health professionals you have come to trust,
and who has worked with others like you to achieve the betterment
iconic representation of medicine is a serpent and staff. This
is the staff of the Greek God Asclepius, a physican who was revered
as a healer thousands of years ago. Asclepius, according to Greek
mythology, had two daughters, Hygeia, and Panacea. Hygeia represented
wellness, the avoidance of excess, sprituality, poses, tranquility,
and natural healing. Panacea represented treatment with herbs
and surgery. The solutions for a population in need of health
lie not on one side, but somewhere in the middle.
medicine has mastery of the evolving science of Panacea.
platform of fitness professionals maintaining a high degree of
competence and excellence can empower people to employ the preachings
outcome? Health, well being, and a joyous state of physical excellence.
invite all feedback.
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