Saturday, April 18, 2009

Maybe we're all crazy...

I'm seeing a disturbing trend on message boards I frequent.

It's laughed about on the Avoiding Corn forum. It's subtly hinted at on Celiac listserves. It's vented over in special diet groups. And it's pondered, rhetorically, in various self-help corners of the world wide web.

"Maybe I'm wrong..."

"I must be crazy..."

"Except, that what I know just doesn't correlate to what I see..." (The words are different, but the gist is the same)

Why do we so easily doubt ourselves when what we witness just doesn't fit in with the world as we believe (or want) it to be?

Parents watch their children melt down after neon-colored cupcakes, candy and medicine...but tell themselves that it has to, the excitement. Right? It's not the additives. Except (They anonymously vent inner doubts online) the child only really loses it when they have artificial coloring. And, well, it sounds crazy...but they've read a few things that made them wonder...It's probably a coincidence, right?

Adults note that certain foods cause bloating, and abdominal discomfort...digestive distress. But it isn't an allergy. It isn't an's, well, it' else.

People with intolerances start noting reactions and trace them to the "impossible" (like a banana) and tell themselves that they're crazy. Only to learn that their cereal is being recalled for contamination, or the bananas are sprayed with corn ethanol, or that their favorite potato chips now have a healthier oil (that just doesn't agree with that particular consumer.)

People who have Celiac and don't respond quickly to the diet are encouraged to wait it out, their questions about whether it could be something MORE are brushed aside like annoying spiderwebs. But, like those spiderwebs, they return until the problem is dealt with. Or, we learn to deal with symptoms and leave the doctor alone.

Concerned parents recite generic symptoms that doctors brush off, knowing that "chronic" isn't often serious. They play statistics, and statistically...parents stop complaining either because things DO get better or, more likely, they become normal. The warnings on the package say to consult a doctor if the condition doesn't go away. And most doctors run a few labs, shrug, and call it normal. Eventually, it is. Or abnormal becomes normal and we move on, with the suspicion that we're missing a piece of the puzzle.

At what point do we decide that Drs know more about everything than us?

As I tell my daughter, doctors know more about the human body and how to fix it than we do. However...we know our bodies. And it's our job to take care of them, and report problems to the doctor so that he can look for answers.

Unfortunately, it seems that many (if not most) doctors are so bent on brushing off their patients they forget that they can learn from them. Doctors DON'T know it all. They're human. Their skill is found in being a tool, only one tool that we the consumer utilize in our quest for health.

Sometimes, eventually some come back and say that not only were they NOT crazy...they have living, breathing proof (in a healthier body) accompanied by black and white test results that showed they had a physical cause for the "stress" or "over anxiety" (about their kids) all along.

Why did they waste time doubting themselves?

Just as actors are a tool in the art of entertainment, and editors are a tool in the world of publishing; the doctor is one of many tools we the consumer should use in our quest for health.

We need to educate ourselves about the food supply, about our medications and nutritional supplements, our water. We need to question doctors and other authority figures. Why are we taking this course of action? Why are my observances invalid? What makes these concerns invalid? And how many others have you successfully treated? Are any still your patient? (Okay, so I'm not quite brave enough to ask these questions. But they need to be asked.)

We need to question food companies, and pharmaceutical companies. We need to hold them responsible for the truth...and accountable for lies (but not necessarily honest mistakes). And we need to learn to trust ourselves. Another trait that has been victimized from society...sheep are rewarded, the inquisitive left behind or punished. We want to be normal. But I don't think there is a normal anymore.

Maybe there never was.

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