*Monday Notes: Doctors and Meds

In 1999, I delivered my first baby. Back then, it was almost a given that you would have an epidural. But I decided otherwise. I went in knowing this wasn’t what I wanted. The nurses almost seemed to mock me as the day wore on. Eventually, I did ask for one because the pain was unbearable; however, it was too late. All I could have was a small amount of Demerol. But you know what? Our daughter was the only baby in the unit wide awake. That’s because when mothers take drugs, then babies are drugged…and it makes them sleepy. Since then, I’ve always wondered why doctors in the United States are so quick to offer medication and why we’re so quick to take them.

Fast forward to a few years ago. My gynecologist told me I was perimenopausal, and then she off-handedly said, “I can put you on a birth control pill.”

For the life of me, I couldn’t understand why I would need to take birth control in my forties. It made no sense, and she didn’t explain it. After research, I now understand it was because menopause is a hormonal situation that may require replacement hormones for balance. However, I’ve also learned that there are other ways to manage hormones other than popping a pill.

Fast, fast forward to a couple weeks ago. I visited an ear, nose, and throat specialist for a recurring cough I’ve had. He diagnosed me with laryngopharyngeal acid reflux, asked me if I drank alcohol or coffee, then quickly wrote a script. When I read the side effects, one of them, though rare, is lupus. Lupus? In addition to this, it’s not good for people with low white blood cell counts, which I also have.

“Is there something else I can do…something more natural?” I asked the physician’s assistant.

The answer was another prescription, with 40 possible side effects. That’s when I decided I would do what I always do: read and research on my own and talk to my friends to see what they knew.

Like most illnesses, this type of reflux can also be repaired with a specific diet. One of my friends revealed that she was prescribed medication for her acid reflux, too. And the meds were only supposed to be used for months, but her doctor had her on them for years! She changed her diet, figured out her triggers, and removed the meds from her life. Another friend suggested an Ayurvedic diet. When I confirmed my dosha and read about the types of foods I should eat, they perfectly aligned with what I’d read about non-acidic foods. It is totally possible to shift my diet and reflux.

Part of my point here is that US doctors seem to be on a different page than I am. Their purpose doesn’t seem to be to get to the root causes of issues or even to heal them. It seems they’re paid to prescribe medications for as long as humanly possible, no matter the side effects, even if there are alternative, simpler solutions.

My other point is, as patients, we should be a bit more discerning about what medications we allow in our bodies. I know there are times when there really is no choice in the matter. For example, my youngest daughter had to be delivered via C-section. There was no way I could opt out of an epidural; it was mandatory for that type of operation. But if your illness isn’t extreme or chronic, then I think it’s worth taking a second look at alternative options.


*I’m a Dr. but not that kind of doctor. This is my opinion. Seek advice from your physician if you’re having medical issues.

86 thoughts on “*Monday Notes: Doctors and Meds

  1. This ^ post is everything!

    I am currently teaching about patient communication and engagement in my health psychology class with student nurses and you could have written the entire chapter with this post.

    And it’s no coincidence that the source of the issue is in your gut Dr. G. For all the reason we talked about last year, and also from a spiritual evolutionary perspective.

    You are levelling up to the next level of your glory. Famous words from one of my favourites, Caroline Myss:

    https://www.myss.com/watch-first-hour-guts-god

    She also has a fabulous TEDx on Choices

    Sending you and your gut a double dose of love.

    Dr. D 💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Omgosh! I feel it Dr D, in my soul, I feel it. I can see how everything is connected, and of course, I don’t believe in coincidences, so I know for a fact that our conversation, while helpful for hundreds (thousands?) of people…was really instrumental in helping me to get my proverbial sh*t together (in terms of my gut and solar plexus). It’s…all…connected!

      Anywho, didn’t mean to go on a tangent, but I know you know 😉

      I’ll be checking out the links soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think doctors are quick to prescribe drugs because they’re quick and definitive. Finding alternatives involves trial and error, which could mean multiple visits to the doctor. I could be wrong about that, but I think it is true in many countries. My guess is the problem is even worse in our country because doctor are afraid of lawsuits (we’re number one in the world in that area!) and so they tend over-prescribe drugs so as not to be accused of “not adequately treating the problem.” I completely agree that it is in our best interests to do research on the drugs we are being offered and also alternative, more natural treatments!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When dealing with a health-care professional, I remember something my granny told me: doctors are practicing. So writing prescriptions, for some, is the best they know to do. I like your approach of doing your own research. We’ve got to have a healthy relationship with our medical care team too.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. A little dramatic of me (and WP for me IS a drama free zone) but there you are, and I only mentioned this because a commenter was offered Prozac for PMS for heavens sake!……… Tragically my Uncle developed depression and took his own life within a week of being prescribed Prozac, and there have been others so consequently Prozac use is taken seriously here in the UK, apparently two weeks is a danger period both when you start and you stop taking the drug. Over ten years ago now, I don’t believe time heals but………….well you know what I mean 🙂 . I believe the drug is dangerous in circumstances where the patient has underlying mental problems, but apart from a phone call no one recognised something was terribly wrong……..perhaps there are circumstances where Prozac use can be beneficial? I don’t know.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. How I agree with you. Let me count the ways. Even after two surgeries, I didn’t take meds.The nurses were amazed by the fact that I didn’t use the little pump-like think that dispenses meds intravenously. They eventually told me to just take Advil. Docs nowadays are quick to prescribe meds and, as you mentioned, not work with you to find solutions. Or they pick up their tablets to find what your symptoms might mean. That’s frustrating. I can do that myself. Listen to me. Ask questions. Touch me, if you must. I was happy when I told one of my docs that I didn’t want to take a particular medication she recommended natural remedies instead. Find an herbalist/naturopathic/MD. They do exist. Forgive my rambling rant.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rambling allowed. I asked my primary if she thought I was overweight…she came back with some sheets she’d googled ;-/

      Anywho, yes…I have an appointment with a naturopathic doc next month.

      Like

  5. Hi KE,
    I couldn’t agree with you more. Years ago when I when complained to a gynecologist, I was seeing for the first time, about PMS, immediately she said she would write me a prescription for Prozac. I was shocked that it was her immediate answer, even before examining me and talking further. I never went back.
    I am leaning more and more towards the natural way, paying attention to what I am eating and other factors, before taking prescriptions.
    Great post! Blessings! ♥♥

    Liked by 2 people

      1. You know…I keep hearing about antidepressants being prescribed to menopausal women, specifically. These anecdotes are beginning to remind me of The Yellow Wallpaper. I don’t think we ever slipped out of the era where prescribing meds for mental illness to women was common.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Kathy, it is important to be aware of what is prescribed by doctors and to learn about medication and illnesses. Some of the examples listed sound nonsensical and unnecessary. I am one of those annoying people always questioning yet I am happy to listen and be advised by doctors. Reading your comments I am astounded that prescription medication is advertised on TV en masse in America, they are not allowed at all in the UK.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Fascinating topic in light of the opioid crisis and then the pandemic being made worse by people not getting vaccinated. Why are some people willing to take drugs they don’t need while others won’t take the ones they do?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You know…this is true. Someone else above/below and I were discussing how the dentist office prescribes percocet for pain, which is basically now known as a common street drug.

      That’s a good question about vaccines.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I have to compliment you on your specifically humorous writing style. Your account of the medical profession might be characterised as universal. We should dish out medals for ignorance. Side effects? What side effects? Luckily the chemists are acting more enlightened.
    I also suffered from reflux for many years, but after I gave up alcohol and I was immediately cured! Did my GP advise me on it? No, he suggested instead a diabolic medical solution, which had four pages of side effects on offer. Of course, going against the alcohol lobby could be professional suicide. There is also a very cheap product on the market, which has been traditional in use for more than a century. Natron!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I hear you! I eat for my dosha and my menopausal self. I take no hormones. I am no anti drug, am fully vaxxed, but I don’t think a pill is the answers for everything. When I was having serious back pain, I was frustrated when doctors only wanted to address the pain and not the cause. That was when I realized I had to be a major part of my health care.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Do you??? Do you do eat for your dosha all the time, like has it become a part of your lifestyle?

      After a few weeks of looking into things, I can see why people just take a pill. It’s a lot easier, for sure. I also think we’re not raised/trained, whatever the word is, to have autonomy over our own health.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I follow Ayurveda, but not super strict. As a fiery Pitta, the are things I avoid and limit year round. When in balance, I eat for the season. Right now I am moving into Vata, which hurts my summer loving dosha, but helps my sinuses. I struggle with Kapha season. I dislike the weather and the food, but I trust the process. When I go out of balance, I eat for the imbalance which is usually in Vata. This has helped me immensely physically and temperamentally.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh boy, another topic we share. I’m not sure where to start. After 6 years without getting pregnant, the doctors knew I had hyperprolactinemia (high prolactin hormone) but not why. I went to the medical library and discovered that my antidepressant sertraline was making my body think it already was pregnant. I brought in the information for the doctor. I was prescribed bromocriptine and that made it possible for us to conceive our bundle of joy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What…in..the…entire….???

      Are you saying the side effect for your antidepressant was that your body thought you were already pregnant, so that’s what was stopping you from actually being pregnant? This is FASCINATING to me, how our bodies work, how medications affect our bodies, and the fact that the doctor didn’t know this was a thing.

      I’m so happy you were able to figure it out and deliver your child.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. You are so right! My 1st child was born with meds and I was so drugged after she was born, I was afraid to go to sleep. She had trouble breathing. My 2nd child was born with no meds, none, and he and I were able to rest, and were alert and feeling well. Recently I had to go on antibiotics for a gut issue, but I figured out what the problem was first, using natural products, blood tests and diet — SIBO, and then researched the only antibiotic proven to help the problem, and then went to 4 different doctors before I found one who would prescribe the correct antibiotic, which I took and now the SIBO is gone. Now I am using diet, probiotics, and vitamin/mineral to re-balance my gut. Good Doctors are so rare, when I find one, I hang on to them! I don’t mind using a med if it will fix the problem, but not if it will just mask the symptoms, or make the problem worse.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is quite a story! Thank you for sharing it Janet. Good doctors are rare. I haven’t found one I’m pleased with yet, no matter their specialty. I’m scheduled to begin with a naturopathic one next month, so we’ll see how that goes.

      I’m really glad to hear you were able to heal yourself. This is hopeful ❤

      Like

  12. Love your Monday Notes.

    Doctors and Meds is another issue of concern to many. I have always been one not interested in popping pills just for the fact that once started, it never ceases. Lately though, I have changed and now take a couple to manage my health issues till I can find other more natural ways.

    Doctors studied medicine. That’s all they know and went to school for longer than the rest of us. It took me a long while to understand that they cannot effectively answer or prescribe alternatives to us. The realization came when my anesthesiologist brother responded to me one day, “sis, that’s all I know.” We were talking about one of us being prescribed a medication that had more side effects than the problem being cured. I proposed natural and other healing alternatives which he abrasively said “I don’t know about that …”. I was angry at first, thinking he wasn’t being helpful, but thought it over and realized it was true. Doctors have not been trained to administer alternative treatments to any medical issue.

    Also, he helped us understood that doctors prescribe meds based on the sentences we use and that if one wanted certain meds, doctors respond to “keywords.” How I wish I knew that 30 years ago. Of course, doctors also prescribe based on our test results. Short of advising us to eat right, exercise, lose weight; which are all health managements, their only solution is to prescribe the “best medicine.” The only problem is that the solutions have more fatal side effects. Sometimes I wonder if doctors are aware of the mirage of side effects from the drugs they prescribe. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!

      Thanks for adding this story about your brother. I’m learning this is the case for MOST physicians, no matter their specialty. OB/GYNS take ONE class about menopause; my PCP gave me some printed Google sheets when I asked her opinion about my weight. This is all fascinating to me because doctors spend a lot of time in school and then more time interning…I’m wondering where the gap is.

      You know, when we were on a tour in Costa Rica, the guide said meds are a FINAL step in their healthcare. They still firmly believe, not only in herbs and other things, but also a little bit of spiritual stuff as well. You have to be deathly ill for someone to prescribe meds.

      Anywho, I feel as if I ranted more in this comment lol I do appreciate you adding this. I know it to be true.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You did just fine, Sista.
        1. Still wondering though where the gap is? Lol. Ain’t none. All medical professionals didn’t go to school to study alternatives for us. That’s why the alternative professionals (holistic, naturopathic, etc) sprung up. But they (med profs) won’t tell us that. I think it’s up to us to make the decision.
        2. Love the Costa Ricans faith on spiritual. Faith can and does heal. I believe in the spiritual healing in Jesus, too. I’ve done a few and seen many. But God, who is the Great Physician desires that we wise up to know the difference between when to seek the natural, spiritual, and or both.

        I appreciate you more for penning these issues and giving us the opportunity to voice our opinions and share experiences. We learn from one another. 😍🙏🏾

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I was actually mocked too by a nurse, an older lady who clearly had been there a long time, when I was sent in for a second c-section. The first one was not planned, he got stuck, and the second one was planned by my OBGYN and surgeon and still, I had to listen to the ‘they just wanna open the zipper’ comment. Maddening.

    Yes, the pushing drugs thing is serious here in Canada too. I’m fortunate I have a doctor who is open-minded and not a pill-pusher. It can be overwhelming…

    Great article. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. 💯 yes agree with all of this and it’s so maddening! We need holistic healing which considers everything, not just our symptoms. And there are doctors who don’t listen and who don’t care about our feelings. For me, finding a good doctor who cares is possible but it’s like dating and I have to go on a lot of bad doctor dates to find a keeper. Ugh, so scary! Also yes I struggle with the acid reflux cough also and get it in the mornings if I’ve had a lot of dairy or tomato sauce or fried foods the night before. Same page, sister, and thanks for writing and sharing!! xo

    Like

    1. I hear you. I just made an appointment with a naturopathic doctor. She sounds promising and I’ll probably give an update.

      This cough is hella annoying! And yes, dairy for sure seems to trigger all of the things, but not the fermented kind (e.g., kefir, etc.).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad you said that. After 3 weeks of carefully watching everything, I’m learning that some of the things they claim I should’t eat, actually helps, and other things exacerbate it (3 hour cough). So, I may try peppermint tea…it’s on the don’t drink list lol

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s ridiculous. I used to laugh at that long list of side effects they’d say at the end of a commercial, but now I’m like, huh? Being able to afford alternative health care really is a privilege.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. Katherin, I went down this same road with a nagging cough, too! It affected my singing and was very annoying. An endoscopy revealed esophagitis as a result of reflux. The gastroenterologist told me losing weight would help, and I did on a very radical diet. I was desperate. I lost about 40 pounds – but 20 came back after I broke my ankle in 2019.
    It’s six years later and I am certain diet plays a very big part. I saw a naturapathic doctor and took some great supplements that also helped. The worst thing was taking anti-acids. I was told that taking them interfered with my absorption of nutrients from my food. My cough came back after the fires last year, but it’s almost gone. I’m so thankful!
    I’m sorry you’re going through this. It is a “dance” – knowing which meds are necessary and which ones aren’t. A good friend opted not to take antibiotics with an ear infection. It led her to a heart valve infection and she ended up having surgery. So these are serious decisions!
    ps. I also had epidurals and C-sections. Those were all necessary in my book!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for this Judy. I think I remember you having a cough, but I didn’t remember it was so closely related!

      It seems like a “dance” I’d like to be uninvited to lol I literally just made an appointment with a naturopathic doc, so fingers crossed for that. She sounds very hopeful about helping.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. When I was pregnant with my daughter I watched a great documentary called “the business of being born”. I thought it was an excellent, behind the scenes look at why we (mothers, doctors, nurses) do what we do and the reasoning behind it. It was eye-opening!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I am really anti medicine, especially if you’re not really sure what’s causing something, but just trying to deal with the effects. I don’t understand people who blindly medicate themselves for everything, or who want antibiotics for colds…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. I was talking to a co-worker and explaining this situation. She replied, “I don’t even look at the side effects because I don’t want that in the back of my mind…I just take the pills.” I’m pretty sure I stared at her like she had 3 heads, but I think this is common practice for quite a few people.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Totally agree about doing your own research and advocating for yourself. After being in pain and led to believe that it was “normal” and all in my head, at 16, I took control. No more male doctors and knowledgeable enough that I had the newest approaches to my illness to discuss at level with my doctor. As the Carribean saying goes, “I’m not going to take someone else’s eyes to sleep.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hate to sound biased and stereotype, but I really do think male doctors are the worst. Although, I have had some bad female docs as well.

      On a separate note, I read and re-read this phrase a million times Marquessa until I finally got it lol

      Like

  19. When I had my root canal done , they prescribed some pain killers and antibiotics. I took the antibiotics but was super paranoid about the side effects of pain killers , and even the antibiotics destroy your gut fauna . Which is really bad for digestion , so I was drinking so much Yakult to regulate it . You really do have to be mindful of certain stuff .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear you on all of it! When my daughter had her wisdom teeth removed, they prescribed her percocet! I was like percocet??? Like the rappers rap about? I didn’t even fill that prescription. It’s a lot more work, but I agree. You have to dig a little deeper to decide if it’s necessary.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. At one time, I too was taking a lot of medication. After I suffered a stroke, I stopped all meds and taught myself about herbs and roots. I’m teaching this to my ppl too. Everything in this country is a business and making ppl well isn’t the business model. Would it be yours if your business is to heal and you heal ppl who would need your business. It would be self sabotage. My opinion of course. Learn herbs and roots

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “Making people well isn’t the business model!!!” RIGHT!

      I get what you’re saying. Everyone would be healed alternatively because they’d be doing like you’re doing…teaching everyone else. It just seems so evil to keep people dependent on drugs, especially if it’s unnecessary.

      I meant to add above that the doctor asked me if I drank alcohol or coffee, but then he didn’t follow up with…stop drinking alcohol or coffee. I’m just surprised by the level of ignoring the patient that’s happening.

      Kudos to you healing and weaning yourself off meds!

      Like

  21. Doctors vary in both their knowledge and commitment. My belief is that when you find your doc is a pill-pusher, you need to find a different doc. Further, as you age, particularly 60+, pills that were OK become risks for falls. Deprescribing is a thing in Canada and select areas of the US, and its something I raise with older clients who I see are taking a high number of prescriptions. Excessive numbers of scripts requires a serious conversation with a good doc.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks for adding this Vic. It’s something I would’ve never thought about, even though I was raised around a lot of older people who seemed to have lines of those little orange bottles.

      I’ve never heard of de-prescricibing, but it sounds like something I’d get behind.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Particularly as people get older, some common meds will hinder balance, and falls can be lethal. There’s an SF doc who specializes in elder care and blogs, Kernisan. She’s a really good read. Doing health insurance, I run into a lot of people with absurd lists of drugs.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. I’m with you! If I can change my habits and/or take some natural supplements I’ll try that first. I’m open to taking medication if I absolutely need to or if my remedies aren’t strong enough, but so far, being close to 60, I’ve managed to avoid most medications! My latest health issues were with my digestive system, I suddenly found that everything I ate triggered extreme gas production and heartburn which triggered my lower intestines to go into very painful spasms. My daughter has severe IBS and she told me about IBGARD so I was taking that. It’s a little expensive so I looked into other things I could do. I found out that I needed to replenish my gut bacteria to bring my digestive system back into line and now am using a sting probiotic as well as digestive enzymes with each meal. I’m feeling sooo much better!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m wondering why so many of us have this gut/digestion issue. I mean, it’s probably an obvious answer like the mainstream diet is trash, but it seems to be a really big deal all of a sudden for so many people I know.

      On a separate note, I’m glad you found something that works for you. I started taking a probiotic early this year, and it’s done wonders.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not sure why! I chalked it up to long term stress job hunting, more inactivity due to the heat of the summer and just getting older! I tried googling to see if it was possibly caused by my vaccine but didn’t find anything so I’m going to say it’s the first things I mentioned!

        Liked by 1 person

Comments are welcomed

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s