Doctors, Drugs and Why Bother?

(From 2002)

What are you going to the doctor
for?  What do you want, and what does the
doctor want?  Is your doctor helping you
live better?  Is your ability to be a
happy, productive member of society improved because of your doctor’s
interventions?  I want to be able to lift
small children, pay attention to the six o’clock news, and not feel faint.  If my doctor gives me medicine that improves
my lab work, has the doctor also improved my life—or has the medicine caused
weakness, confusion and faintness?  I
want to live a good life but too often what the doctor wants is perfect results
on lab tests regardless of quality of life.

He says, “You can’t stop taking
this medicine; you might have a heart attack.”

You say, “But life isn’t worth
living while I’m taking this medicine.”

My friend’s heart was bad; her
doctor prescribed a drug.  Her doctor was
pleased with her EKG’s, but the drug made her sleepy and faint.  If you can’t live the life you want, what’s
the point of having a well-performing heart?
The medicine satisfied her doctor’s desire, but it left her in bed,
unable to care for her grandchildren.
What is life for if it is merely the continued performance of heart and
lungs?  There are various degrees of
“vegetative state.”  Here is the
question:  do you feel better about
living when you do take your medicine, or when you don’t?  Take what makes you feel better, and screw
the doctor.

You must, of course, be
informed.  You must understand the
long-term consequences of not taking medicine.
Diabetes, for example.  The long-term
effects are devastating, and the short-term effects are barely
discernible.  If you don’t treat yourself
right, what will happen?  Learn the
answer to that before you stop taking medicine—and also learn that the closer
you come to eating nothing but boiled vegetables, the closer you come to
needing no medicine in order to achieve the same level of heath that would be
provided by the medicine.

There is a
test called the A1C.  In some amazing
manner unknown to me, a single drop of blood can be tested to show what your
average glucose level has been for three months.  If the results are under seven, you’re in
good shape; under 6.5 and you’re excellent.

I have
diabetes mellitus, type II.
(“Over-weight and over-forty,” the doctor said.)  I do not take medicine, and my A1C last week
was 6.1.  My breakfast is Rice Krispies,
half a banana, and skim milk.  Lunch and
dinner are a quarter pound of meat, half a cup of rice or potatoes, and half a
cup of vegetables.  Lunch includes half a
cup of fresh fruit; dinner is half a cup of fat-free ice cream.  Sometimes, like everybody else, I eat
shameful quantities of chocolate and chips.
I am neither sick nor medicated.

Jennifer Daniels is a black woman from Syracuse.  She attended Harvard, and got a Master’s
degree in Business Administration and a Doctorate in Medicine simultaneously
from the University
of Pennsylvania.  This shames the medical school, since they
maintain that becoming a doctor is such a big deal that you can’t possibly do
anything else at the same time.  They are

The Office of Professional Medical
Conduct has suspended Dr. Daniel’s license to practice medicine pending
investigation.  She had a diabetic
patient.  She told him he could either
take medicine, or exercise and diet.  He
chose the exercise and diet option and did well.  My doctor told me not to worry as long as my
glucose level, as indicated by finger stick, was under 180; Dr. Daniel’s
patient was down around 200.  He went to Jamaica on
vacation.  He ate, drank and didn’t
exercise.  Upon return to Syracuse, he was taken
directly from the airport to the Emergency Room where (a) his glucose level was
600 and (b) he declared he had been noncompliant.  His doctor gave him a choice of two
treatments; he chose not to use either one.
It is not your doctor’s fault if you are an idiot.  She is not your mother and you are not a
child.  It is the doctor’s responsibility
to give you correct facts and good advice; it is your responsibility to make
the decisions and follow through with what you’ve decided.

A young
couple had their first child, and it did not thrive.  They went to Dr. Daniels.  She diagnosed the infant as not thriving
because the mother was not nursing well.
She gave the mother nutrients and counseling.  The child thrived.  The parents became aware that Dr. Daniels was
being investigated so, for reasons of their own, they sent their infant to a
routine checkup in a taxi with their pastor.
After the checkup, and a few blocks away from the doctor’s office, the
taxi was stopped and government officials seized the child.  The child was taken to the hospital, admitted
and tested.  All tests were normal.  It was a perfectly healthy child.

Because Dr.
Daniels gave her patients viable alternatives to prescription medicine, her
office is locked and she is defending herself in the same venue as physicians
who are drug addicts.



About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
This entry was posted in American medical industry, drugs, Health Care, Medical care, Pharmaceuticals, physician and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Doctors, Drugs and Why Bother?

  1. Faith says:

    this post should someone print out and put on every bus in london

  2. Rhetta says:

    i tried to get your rss-FEED but it showing me some Xml errors..

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