Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Flashback Blog: The Month of May

In the shuffle and hubbub and laziness of moving, some things were left unblogged. Here’s one of them.

Orignal Post Title: That’s Quacktastic!

Now I realize that some people think that all physicians are quacks. I further realize that if any one group of docs are considered quacks, it would certainly by psychiatrists. But for the month of May I got to work with a group even more quacktastic: complimentary/alternative medicine docs.

One thing’s for sure, every day was different. One day I’d be with a chiropractor, the next with a acupuncturist, the next with a herbalist. I worked with Russian, Indian, Chinese, American and Texan doctors. Or at least most of them were doctors.

The most interesting was probably Dr Anonymous, who claims to be able to cure cancer and autism. In his mind most all disease is a result of our crazy modern diet. To be honest, I never understood the nuances of his plans for his patients. Eat only what your ancestors eat, so no corn, but don’t eaten gluten, which your ancestors almost certainly ate. Yes, it didn’t make sense to me either. And in the end, most patients got loaded up with magnesium, Vitamin B and fish oil. Like, ridiculous amounts of fish oil. I was surprised he hadn’t figured out a fish oil IV. I’d consider giving his a program a try for kicks and giggles, but he wouldn’t let me eat bread or bananas (or chicken or avocado or red meat and a couple dozen other near-vital food groups) so that’s a no-go. But he and his patients swear by his program, so who am I to say it’s gibberish. But it might be gibberish. After all, he told me twice that sharks were mammals.

The other herbalists were more mainstream, doing actual history and physicals with their patients, diagnosing conditions in pretty standard fashion, just using more vitamins and supplements than your average doctor. It was always confusing when each doctor had their own beliefs (gluten is the devil, it doesn’t matter; vitamin C ruins other vitamin uptake, vitamin C is the best!) but I liked that they had their own ideology and were sticking with them.

Chiropractic got old quick. It was cool to see, but most everything looked the same. I learned how to crack my neck better.

Acupuncture was kind of similar. It was neat to see, but the majority of cases were very similar. The problem was that with chiropractic and acupuncture I could only shadow the doc, not get involved in the treatment in any significant way. Plus the doctors English wasn’t very good for the acupuncture, limiting the instruction pretty significantly.

I’m still confused as heck about Ayurveda. If it’s true I think I just have to throw my 4 years of med school out the window.

So ultimately, none of the physicians convinced me that their brand of medicine was true. Some of them were actively trying to convince me, but mostly it was a very relaxed month, which is a good way to end the year. While I wasn’t convinced that any of the modalities were the answer to modern disease, it was clear that certain patients liked each of them. And in my mind, any treatment that makes a patient happy (excluding puppy blood facials) is a worthwhile treatment.

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