The Casual Way Medicine Tries to Kill Us
I’ve always been a bit wary of modern medicine, but I trusted the professionals and the technology enough to become a living kidney donor in 1997.
The results were good. My recipient is only just now losing function of the kidney I gave him – that’s a good long run away from dialysis. During this time my recipient went to college, started a career, got married and became a father!
My health has been quite good during this time as well, and my remaining kidney has functioned brilliantly.
My husband recently reminded me of a cautionary bit of advice given us by one of the transplant surgeons at Hartford Hospital. The doctor told us that his peers would, from time to time, try to give me medication that could harm my kidney. I was instructed to be vigilant about this.
Truly, I had forgotten this sage piece of advice. I had grown complacent enough with my good kidney function and decent medical care to trust the doctors a bit too much.
A few years ago, after some routine diagnostic imaging, my pharmacy called to tell me my prescription was ready. “What prescription?” I asked.
My doctor had called in a prescription based on the fact that the imaging revealed I had a small hiatal hernia.
Mind you, I had never complained of symptoms, nor asked for any help in that particular department.
Dutifully, I took the medication. That was my bad. Intuitively, I didn’t feel that I needed it, or wanted it.
However, subsequently, two other doctors affirmed my need to be on this drug. One gave me an upgrade to a stronger, more powerful version. He seemed to feel that if I really experienced the benefits, I would come to appreciate the medication.
Each doctor was aware that I was a living kidney donor, and was aware that I had not complained of these particular symptoms. Regardless, each doctor felt I needed this particular type of medication.
Fast forward to this year’s annual check-up. My routine blood-work caught a problem that labeled me with “chronic kidney disease stage 3”. At that point, the doctor took me off the medication that I had been questioning for two years.
A recheck two weeks later showed my champion kidney functioning beautifully.
I had dodged a bullet.
That bullet was fired directly at me by three different doctors.
Why do doctors push medications to the possible detriment of their patients? There are probably many economic and political reasons for this. The lesson I learned, however, is that I cannot count on my doctor - any doctor - to have my best interests at heart.
It’s my job to be vigilant, to get the help I need from the medical community, and, at the same time, to question even more stridently each thing they suggest.
But, that’s the tough part. What more can I ask than “Are you sure this won’t hurt my kidney?”
I’ve asked doctors this question about prescriptions and OTC medications regularly for almost 20 years. Never has one of them taken my question seriously, until they could see the damage they had done in my blood-work.
This is an especially interesting question, given my profession as a tarot reader. Many times, in readings, clients ask me about their health issues. Of course, I always respond first with the disclaimer that “your doctor is your best source of health information”. That this statement often gets a laugh and a story suggests that I am not the only person who is frustrated and befuddled by their doctors.
Often, tarot gives helpful insight for navigating the path toward treatment and healing. It was tarot that actually suggested I donate a kidney to the brother of the young girl for whom I was performing a reading.
Nonetheless, there is something that has seemed to me inappropriate about asking the tarot to help me decide which medications would be in my best and worst interests. However, given what the medical community has done with the same questions, I think it can’t hurt to pull a few cards on any new meds going forward. I may bring my crystal ball and a pendulum to my next doctor’s appointment.
The primary medication that caused the alarming blood test is one of a group that has recently gotten a lot of press for (wait for it) causing kidney disease.
When I asked my doctor why she prescribed it, and insisted I take it, knowing I only have one kidney, her answer was, “It’s only just recently been proven to cause kidney disease.”
This begs two larger questions.
How many other medications are doctors pushing that have significant unknown dangers?
Why are these dangers not discovered during the testing phase, prior to release?
I’m grateful to the medical community for the research, treatments and medications that can save our lives, and improve the quality of our lives. They did a splendid job on the transplant surgery, increasing my recipient’s quality of life substantially.
At the same time, my recent experience suggests that blindly trusting doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies to not take risks with our health is naive and unwise.
It would be equally unwise to consider that I could figure out health issues and prescribe treatment solely with my tarot cards.
After this recent experience, I clearly believe that using divination and intuition to weigh medical options and check in with higher self on issues of well-being seems less random and more helpful than the cavalier way the medical community now prescribes dangerous drugs.