Monday, March 15, 2010

Continental Airlines Stops Serving "Special Meals"

SAN FRANCISCO - JANUARY 21:  A Continental Air...Image by Getty Images via Daylife
NOTE: This information is from the Celiac Disease Blog by Nancy Lapid, Guide to Celiac Disease.

Continental Airlines to Stop Serving Gluten-Free Meals on International Flights

Sunday March 14, 2010

Continental is discontinuing gluten-free meals on international flights. We need to all write to the CEO about this problem - please join in writing and make your concerns heard!

I read this today on Erin S.'s Gluten-Free Fun blog. I know Erin personally but I still couldn't believe the news. I went to the Continental Airlines website and saw: "Continental Airlines will be reducing our special meals program effective March 15." Then I called Continental myself, and their reservations agent told me that not only are the gluten-free meals being discontinued, but the airline won't serve special meals for diabetics either.

Given how difficult it is to bring foods from home past airport security these days, this policy prevents people with celiac disease from flying internationally on Continental. I for one would be willing to pay extra for a gluten-free meal, but the new policy as it stands now is thoughtless and insulting. The celiac community needs to respond.

Erin has a great sample letter on her site. You can send email to:

Mr. Jeffery A. Smisek, CEO

or write to:

Mr. Jeffery A. Smisek, CEO
Continental Airlines
P.O. Box 4607
Houston, Texas 77210-4607
United States

Note: This post has been updated to show the name of the current CEO.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Know Thyself

How well do you know yourself?

I am not talking about your personality or your likes and dislikes. I am asking, how well do you know yourself at a genetic level?

It's important where and by whom you came from, and here's why: your genes carry the code to your health and well being. That adage is true: if you have your health, you have everything. And if you don't have your health? Then what?

Was your Grandmother crazy, as I mine was? Was your mother unstable and childlike, as mine is? Did your father love sugar, as mine did? When we were kids, he would give us $20 and instruct us to ride our bikes up to the grocery store and spend every penny on candy. We would be in trouble for sure if we didn't spend every cent on candy. We did as we were told, my brother and I. I have a sweet tooth today that can substantiate this fact.

My grandmother Mimi -- whom this blog is named for -- was paranoid schizophrenic. She had what once was termed "blue baby" in 1952. They didn't talk much about post partum depression back then. My own mother was a single child and she grew up listening to her mother fret every single night about the communists and the Beetles, both of whom were out to get her (in her warped mind).

Both my mother and grandmother were thin. Both had pale skin. Both were anemic. Both had restless leg syndrome. Both had osteoporosis. Both had emotional issues that overwhelmed them throughout their lives.

Why is this important to me, or to you? Because I now know in my bones that Mimi was intolerant to gluten. I believe it was the starting point for all of her many health woes. She loved her wheat toast every morning and saved a piece in the oven to enjoy at lunchtime. She didn't know that wheat toast was killing her. Just as my mother was unaware that her emotional concerns came from food her body saw as an invading enemy.

My mother and grandmother didn't know. But I do. And I will never knowingly ingest gluten. Or dairy. Or corn. Or yeast. I have a physical response to all of those ingredients. I am lucky that I did not suffer the same mental demise that other women in my family have suffered . . . but I could have gone down that path had I not caught my health concerns when I did.

Do you know about your mom's health? Do you know if she had a problem with wheat? Do you or someone you are related to crave sugar, alcohol, or carbs? Could you or they be self-medicating?

Before you are quick to write off such a person, find out if they have a food allergy or are battling Candida. Rule that out for yourself as well. It's not an excuse, nor does it give anyone a free pass to abuse substances . . . but it is often true that we self-medicate because we feel so very fatigued, or achy or generally like hell and the starting place of feeling that way could very well be a food allergy or a leaky gut.

You need to know. Find out and do better with your own food choices.

Knowledge is beyond power -- it is health.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Reasons to Fall in Love with a Coconut

A bunch of young coconut in KeralaImage via Wikipedia
I am talking about the actual food, the coconut, silly. I am not going to give you reasons to fall in love with some (coco)nut person. You are on your own there.

I have always liked coconut but steered clear of it because I -- like so many people -- bought into the soybean lobbyist's interpretation of coconut oil being a bad health choice. In fact, the opposite is true.

I just enjoyed a melted tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil in my decaf ginger tea. I drink two tablespoons a day of coconut oil and hope to get up to at least 3 tablespoons. I was hesitant to start drinking an oil but the first time I did, I felt like I had finally, finally put the right kind of oil in my body's engine. The tremendous pain I was feeling from fighting a Candida infestation was gone in an instant. I had a sustained sense of energy and I wasn't hungry for hours after drinking my coconut oil-ginger tea.

It's the only oil we cook with. I have even started putting it my hair as a conditioner and my dry hair went away! I have been researching information about coconuts (those lovely monkey faces!) and particularly about coconut oil. As usual, there are 'authorities' on this issue who contradict one another. I will post some articles below and you decide on your own about the merits or the demerits of this natural product. I am still learning about coconut oil and after experimenting with it, I am a big fan and I think it is a good thing to have in your health arsenal.

Here are the health benefits brought to you by a coconut from the Coconut Research Center:
  • Kills viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, SARS, AIDS, and other illnesses.
  • Kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, gum disease and cavities, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, and other diseases.
  • Kills fungi and yeasts that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete's foot, thrush, diaper rash, and other infections.
  • Expels or kills tapeworms, lice, giardia, and other parasites.
  • Provides a nutritional source of quick energy.
  • Boosts energy and endurance, enhancing physical and athletic performance.
  • Improves digestion and absorption of other nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
  • Improves insulin secretion and utilization of blood glucose.
  • Relieves stress on pancreas and enzyme systems of the body.
  • Reduces symptoms associated with pancreatitis.
  • Helps relieve symptoms and reduce health risks associated with diabetes.
  • Reduces problems associated with malabsorption syndrome and cystic fibrosis.
  • Improves calcium and magnesium absorption and supports the development of strong bones and teeth.
  • Helps protect against osteoporosis.
  • Helps relieve symptoms associated with gallbladder disease.
  • Relieves symptoms associated with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and stomach ulcers.
  • Improves digestion and bowel function.
  • Relieves pain and irritation caused by hemorrhoids.
  • Reduces inflammation.
  • Supports tissue healing and repair.
  • Supports and aids immune system function.
  • Helps protect the body from breast, colon, and other cancers.
  • Is heart healthy; improves cholesterol ratio reducing risk of heart disease.
  • Protects arteries from injury that causes atherosclerosis and thus protects against heart disease.
  • Helps prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay.
  • Functions as a protective antioxidant.
  • Helps to protect the body from harmful free radicals that promote premature aging and degenerative disease.
  • Does not deplete the body's antioxidant reserves like other oils do.
  • Improves utilization of essential fatty acids and protects them from oxidation.
  • Helps relieve symptoms associated with chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Relieves symptoms associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (prostate enlargement).
  • Reduces epileptic seizures.
  • Helps protect against kidney disease and bladder infections.
  • Dissolves kidney stones.
  • Helps prevent liver disease.
  • Is lower in calories than all other fats.
  • Supports thyroid function
  • Promotes loss of excess weight by increasing metabolic rate.
  • Is utilized by the body to produce energy in preference to being stored as body fat like other dietary fats.
  • Helps prevent obesity and overweight problems.
  • Applied topically helps to form a chemical barrier on the skin to ward of infection.
  • Reduces symptoms associated the psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis.
  • Supports the natural chemical balance of the skin.
  • Softens skin and helps relieve dryness and flaking.
  • Prevents wrinkles, sagging skin, and age spots.
  • Promotes healthy looking hair and complexion
  • Provides protection form damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation form the sun.
  • Helps control dandruff.
  • Does not form harmful by-products when heated to normal cooking temperature like other vegetable oils do.
  • Has no harmful or discomforting side effects.
  • Is completely non-toxic to humans.
Suggested reading:

The Truth About Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil: Good Or Bad?

Break Out the Coconut Oil: It is Good for You

Is Coconut Oil Really a Thyroid Cure?

Is Pure Virgin Coconut Oil Healthy or Unsafe

Related articles by Zemanta:

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Could a Virus Cause Gluten Sensitivity?

Biopsy of small bowel showing coeliac disease ...Image via Wikipedia
This interesting tidbit is from a website called Top News You Can Use. It is fascinating and I think quite hopeful to think that gluten sensitivity could be caused by a virus. Next thing you know, they find a cure for that virus or at least something to limit its effects and life improves drastically for millions of us.

Virus Infections Linked with Gluten Intolerance

A new research has suggested that Virus infections may be a contributing factor in onset of gluten intolerance (coeliac disease).

The experts reveal that gluten intolerance may usually show no symptom, and people may not know that they are hit by the disease if their symptoms are mild or uncharacteristic.

Gluten intolerance is an autoimmune reaction in the small intestine. The gluten that occurs naturally in grains such as wheat, barley and rye hampers the intestinal villi, triggering problems with nutrient absorption and potentially other problems too.

Gluten intolerance, an inherited predisposition, plays a vital role in the onset of the condition. The only known effective treatment is a lifelong gluten-free diet.

Academy Research Fellow Päivi Saavalainen, who initiated the research into the hereditary risk factors for gluten intolerance, quoted: "Some of the genes we have identified are linked with human immune defense against viruses. This may indicate that virus infections may be connected in some way with the onset of gluten intolerance".

Here is another great article about a new drug that could even help repair intestines damaged by gluten.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hip Hip Hooray for Boars Head Deli Products!

Image by Thomas Hawk via Flickr
This company gets it. Let's all go out and buy oodles of their products to thank them for leaving gluten out of their deli products!

Gluten Free Stars at the Deli
Boar's Head Recognizes Growing Demand for Gluten Free Foods

SARASOTA, Fla., March 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Boar's Head, a leader in developing fine deli products that respond to consumers' health and wellness concerns, announces an initiative to reach the growing number of Americans now following a gluten free way of life. "Gluten Free with Boar's Head," is reaching out to gluten free followers with news that Boar's Head meats, cheeses and condiments are, and always have been, gluten free.
Boar's Head Brand
"Gluten Free with Boar's Head" provides kitchen-tested gluten free recipes featuring Boar's Head products. The guide also offers information regarding gluten in foods as well as tips for consumers to keep in mind when making gluten free food purchases, including deli products. "Gluten Free with Boar's Head," which is available at local supermarkets and delis where Boar's Head is sold, as well as on the Boar's Head website, is part of the company's broader wellness strategy focusing on health and nutrition.

"Even though Boar's Head meats, cheeses and condiments have always been gluten free, we are seeing an increase in the number of consumers who are asking us whether or not our products are gluten free," explains RuthAnn LaMore, Boar's Head Director of Communications. "Although gluten is found in many foods, anyone living a gluten free lifestyle does not have to avoid the deli counter where Boar's Head is sold." A recent survey by a food industry publication named gluten free as one of the top twenty important food topics of 2010.

This new brochure is part of the company's ongoing effort of responding to consumers' health, wellness, and nutrition concerns. Earlier in the year, Boar's Head launched a campaign, "Launch Your Own Assault on Salt," an initiative encouraging salt sensible food choices, which featured the Boar's Head line of Lower Sodium Deli Meats and Cheeses.

Boar's Head is a supporter of the Celiac Sprue Association, which is dedicated to helping individuals with celiac disease through research, education and support; and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, an organization focused on raising understanding of celiac disease among the general public and the healthcare community, and aiding research into its causes and treatments.

Additionally, 30 Boar's Head deli meats proudly display the American Heart Association's distinctive red and white heart-check mark, which means that the product has been screened and certified by the American Heart Association to meet their criteria for saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium.

Boar's Head also assists the American Diabetes Association in championing the cause of diabetes prevention by promoting healthy lifestyle options through good eating habits and physical fitness. The company has been an ongoing supporter with a number of other national organizations including, Susan G. Komen for the Cure® and the Feingold Association.

For More Information, Contact:
RuthAnn LaMore
Director of Communications
Boar's Head Provisions Co., Inc.
P: 941-955-0994

Horses and Good Health

I believe horses to be veritable soul healers. A good horse is also not bad for your health; in fact, active horse people are among the healthiest folks I know. I ride with countless women who have had broken backs or necks or herniated discs (like I did) and we all still ride. The horse in the pasture beckons to us every day to get well faster so we can get back in the saddle.

I had a car accident in 1991 where I was rear ended by a humongous City of Austin electric vehicle and that wreck left me with two herniated discs. The doctor in the ER room told me I should never, ever ride a horse again and that I would have lifelong pain. I often ignore many things doctors tell me, especially if they have anything to say about my horses. I ride all the time and I am pain free. I believe the will to ride guaranteed that I would one day find out why I was so ill so that I could hurry up and get back out with my beloved horses. I now know I have a systemic Candida overgrowth as well as food allergies to gluten, corn and dairy that likely caused me to be hypothyroid and have weak adrenals. Sometimes I think the Candida was the starting point for all of my health woes and I am incredibly determined to win the Candida battle. I have cleaned up my diet and added many beneficial supplements and I feel great most days. It took me a decade to reclaim my health but if I can do it, you can too.

I have three American Quarter horse geldings and one special mammoth donkey who believes himself to be a horse, so I count him as my fourth horse. He insists on doing every thing a horse does. He also refuses to associate with our herd of mini donkeys. He is a silly donkey but if he so badly wants to believe he is a horse, I am happy letting him think that.

Yesterday was a picture perfect day in Central Texas, so me and my favorite Aunt loaded up two of my experienced trail geldings and headed out to a 44,000 acre state park where we can ride for hours. We met our riding friend John, who is 65 years young and may be the healthiest person I know. He takes zero medications. I really believe that the medical establishment should be studying John's good health. How many 65 year olds do you know who are out riding horses every day and who take no medications whatsoever? Not too many.

Yesterday was a perfect day for us and for our horses. We basked in the sun that has been absent from Texas for months. We walked, we trotted, we loped and we often let the horses pick our path. After our ride, I had a sweet moment with my two geldings as we all shared a huge, healthy apple together. It turns out they like apples as much as I do.

There were many years when I was too ill to ride, or even groom my horses. Luckily my incredible husband took over most of their care and good horse friends would help me as well. Yesterday I had the energy to ride for 4 hours and then come home and walk our 5 dogs. There was a time in the not too distant past where just the thought of throwing a 40 pound saddle over a horse's back was too much energy to think about spending.

I never want to go back to the days of being bedridden. I want the good health I now enjoy every day to go out my back door to my horses and commune with them. I want the energy to ensure my dogs get their daily ranch walk. (Well, I walk; they gallop)

I also want you to enjoy your days. I often cry big horse tears for all the people I know who are suffering from extreme fatigue and who go to doctor after doctor and never get any better.

If you are reading this blog, know in your gut (literally in your gut) that you can regain your health as I did. It is not impossible.

Keep reading, keep learning, and eat well and soon you will be well.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

My FORMER Long and Pathetic List of Health Problems

Position of the Thyroid in Males and FemalesImage via Wikipedia
If you met me today, you would think I was a pretty healthy person, and relatively speaking, I am.

If you met me 5 years ago, you would think I was nearly dead, because I nearly was. At least I felt nearly dead. I was hypothyroid (low thyroid levels) and my adrenal glands were nearly kaput. I kept dragging a three-page list of symptoms to "the best endocrinologist" in Austin and the best he could do is shrug his Big Pharma backed shoulders and offer me zero solutions and refuse to give me any thyroid medications I so desperately needed because I was considered to be sub-clinical hypothyroid.

As a layperson, when I look back over my long and pathetic list of symptoms, I am aghast that the "best endo in Austin" offered me no help at all. By doing so, he guaranteed me to get sicker and sicker. He also insisted that the parathyroid cyst I had to be removed surgically. I fought that for 5 years and he finally wore me down with his repeated concern that it might one day be cancerous. His good friend and ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) surgeon operated on me. He missed the parathyroid cyst (it is completely different than the actual thyroid) and instead removed half my thyroid, leaving me extremely hypothyroid and with an ugly neck scar. It also left me with the parathyroid cyst. I still have it and it is not cancerous, so that surgery was completely unnecessary and it guaranteed that I would need thyroid medicine for the rest of my life.

When I finally got some life-saving advice from some very wise women on-line, I found a true thyroid expert and he put me on dessicated (dried) thyroid medicine and adrenal support and I begin to get my life back. It has been a slow, uphill battle that one nationally known health expert says is the equivalent of becoming an Olympic athlete. I climbed up and over that Olympic-sized health hurdle, and now I blog in hopes of saving others this same misery.

I will share all of the symptoms I once had to illustrate what I have overcome. If you have any of these symptoms -- or all of them as I once did -- please know that you do not have to feel that punk. Find a truly caring doctor who listens to how you feel and one that works as your health care partner to get you back on your feet. (Check out my post on how to find a great doctor.) Also join on-line, patient-advocacy support groups and then read, read, read relevant health books.

And then get ready to thrive and not just barely survive.

Former Symptoms:
Low body temperature (97 degrees or lower)
Very low blood pressure (made me wonder if I was even alive)
Low thyroid levels (especially Free T3 and Free T4, forget the useless TSH test)
Nearly non-functioning adrenal glands
Candida overgrowth
Gaining weight and nothing I did would make it stop
Alternating diarrhea and constipation
Excessive sweating
Extreme heat intolerance
Low Libido
Perimenopausal in my early 30s
Extreme fatigue (couldn't hardly get off the bed in 2005-2006)
Repeated sinus infections
Antibiotics stopped working altogether
Severe allergies
Air hunger
Inability to exercise
Loss of ambition
Slowing of speech
Continual cough
Severe acid reflux
Puffy face
Loss of outer eyebrows
Thinning hair
Dry hair
Brittle fingernails
Low female hormones
High cholesterol
Failure to thrive
Fast heartbeat
Hand tremor
Increased thirst
Excessive itching
Night sweats
Inability to sleep thru the night
Inability to wake up easily in the mornings
Cold hands and feet
Brain fog
Bumps on the legs
Inability to work full time
Handwriting nearly illegible
Ear infections
Joint pain
Carpel Tunnel
Dry eyes
Dry mouth
Muscle cramps
Bone pain
Thyroid nodules
Iodine deficiency
Thankfully, I never lost my mind or got severely depressed but if you live without thyroid hormone for a long enough, you can even slide into schizophrenia. That happened to my maternal grandmother Mimi and to other women in my family. I kept my mental facilities but nearly lost the physical battle.

Today I am an active, inquisitive and healthy person.

I have not caught so much as a cold in more than two years. I have not had a sinus infection in four years. I am far, far from being stuck on the bed, watching life pass me by. Some days I think I get more done than "healthy' folks who still have their thyroid and whose adrenals work properly. I walk our 5 dogs every day and most days, I ride my horses. I work as a professional dog trainer and writer. Other than fighting a Candida overgrowth, ALL of the symptoms above are either completely gone or so minimal as to not pose problems. The only medicines I take are hormone related (thyroid, adrenal and female hormones).

Please don't settle for feeling sick. You have options and you are sitting in the driver's seat when it comes to your own health. Reach out on-line and surround yourself with people who have fought this battle and won it.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Slap You Silly Statistics about America's Health Woes

Anatomia del corpo humano (Anatomy of the huma...Image by Dan SanDonkey via Flickr
I haven't been able to find a single argument that proves to me that gluten or high fructose corn syrup are good things for ANYONE, not to mention those of us with sensitivities to them. I hear from people every day who tell me they like what I have to say about gluten, corn and dairy (thank you!) but they are also quick to tell me that they are sure they do not have any food issues.

I know but apparently they don't know that there are countless people who have a problem with gluten who are asymptomatic. I also know that gluten sensitivity affects up to 144 million Americans, so if you think you are among the lucky it doesn't affect, I sure hope you have tested yourself every which way possible to try to rule out a gluten issue.

In case you are still skeptical that our food is wreaking havoc on our bodies, here are some eye-opening, slap-you-silly statistics that might make you consider your diet and how it can be improved. I am not saying bad food choices cause every single one of these ailments but I am saying that what you eat plays a major role in how you feel. I find it depressing that as a nation we are so very sick.

I've gathered this information from my library of health books, almost all of which are written by M.D.s or from websites such as the Center for Disease Control:
  • Depression affects up to 18 million Americans yet 27 million Americans are taking antidepressants.
  • 24 million Americans have diabetes (and that number seems to increase by the minute).
  • The number of Americans with Type 2 diabetes has TRIPLED over the past 30 years.
  • 75% of the world's population is lactose intolerant. 50 million Americans suffer from lactose issues.
  • 50 million adult Americans suffer from heartburn at least once a month.
  • 34% of Americans are obese.
  • 11% of children aged 2-5 are overweight.
  • 89% of Americans will develop hemorrhoids at one time or another in their lives.
  • Autoimmune thyroid disease is the most common autoimmune disease in the nation.
  • More than 12 million Americans have a thyroid condition and as many as 60 million are estimated to have a thyroid problem.
  • By 2016, less than a decade from now, the number of American adults (those 22 and over) with autism is expected to be nearly 1.5 million.
  • Autism affects as many as 1 in every 110 children in the United States.
  • 80,700,000 people in the United States have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease.
  • 73 million Americans have high blood pressure.
  • 16 million Americans have coronary heart disease.
  • 5.3 million Americans have heart failure.
  • 6 million men and women of reproductive age in the USA are affected by infertility.
  • 2.1 million Americans have Rheumatoid Arthritis.
  • 1 out of 5 Americans suffers from Irritable Bowl Syndrome. It is one of the most frequently occurring gastrointestinal disorders.
  • More than 25 million Americans will develop a peptic ulcer at some times in their lives.
  • Crohn's Disease has spread like an epidemic since 1950 and it affects up to 1 million Americans.
  • By the age of 55, 1 in 5 American women will have their uterus removed.
  • 11 million Americans have cancer.
  • 555,500 Americans will die from cancer, corresponding to 1,500 Americans a day.
  • 1,284,900 new cases of cancer are diagnosed each day.
  • An estimated 205,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year, with an estimated number of deaths at 40,000.
  • 28 million Americans have migraines.
  • An estimated 26% of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.
  • Approximately 20 million American adults, or about 9.5% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year, have a mood disorder.
  • Bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million American adults, or about 2.6% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year
  • Approximately 2.4 million American adults, or about 1.1 percent of the population age 18 and older in a given year,11 have schizophrenia.
  • Gastritis accounts for more than 2 million doctor office visits each year in the U.S.
  • More than 19 million Americans have chronic esophagitis.
  • More than 1 million Americans have recurrent seizures.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

How to Know If Your Doctor Is a Great Doctor

A lab coat.Image via Wikipedia
I can talk all day long about bad doctors, just see yesterday's post. I have frankly had more experience with that kind of doctor than the good kind.

I do know that excellent doctors are out there, however. I will give you my personal check list that I have to have in my doctors. If he or she doesn't have these qualities, I move on until I find a better doctor.

I base these traits on three fabulous doctors that I have the pleasure and good fortune and thankfully now good health -- thanks to them -- to work with. One is a female ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat), one is a hormone specialist (he was the first doctor to believe that I had a thyroid problem and he fixed it) and one is a thyroid surgeon (often called one of the best thyroid surgeons in the country). I can easily add a fourth excellent doctor and that would be the TV doctor named Dr. Oz. I love that he cares about people with every fiber of his being. Had he not become a heart surgeon, he would have made a great shrink.

Traits of Excellent Doctors:
  • They are rarely late for your appointment and if they are, they quickly apologize for keeping you waiting. They bother to put magazines in the waiting room in case they do run late. Simply putting up medical graphics or drug company promotions on the wall does not count as reading material. If you see an abundance of Big Pharma advertising, leave.
  • They do not require you to wear that silly paper gown unless they have to examine something under that gown.
  • They do not repeatedly interrupt you.
  • They do not wear ties and often they leave that white doctor's coat at home as well. Bad germs love ties and that white coat often puts a lot of distance between doctor and patient.
  • They are not offended if your bring in internet research that you want to discuss with them. This kind of doctor is thrilled to have a patient who is knowledgeable about their own health and one that will be an active partner in their own health care. They often recommend books for you to read to further your knowledge. This kind of doctor is never threatened by an informed patient.
  • They don't stop learning the day they receive their diploma from medical school.
  • Many of them don't mess with insurance because they refuse to allow an insurance suit to tell them how to best treat their clients.
  • They spend at least 30 minutes with you; often they spend an entire hour with you.
  • They ask how you FEEL and then they listen to what you say.
  • They understand the body as a whole and thus treat the body as a whole.
  • Many of them understand drug interactions so thoroughly that they could double as your pharmacist.
  • They never denigrate holistic health care; instead they integrate it into their knowledge base and practice.
  • They actually do the basics that every doctor should do: take your temperature, your pulse, your weight and your blood pressure. If you are seeing a thyroid doc and they never bother to actually walk over to you and examine your thyroid, fire that doctor.
  • They often have a nutritionist on staff or recommend that you see one.
  • They treat you with respect and assume you are an intelligent being who can grasp the finer points of your illness.
  • They say that their best knowledge has come from their patients, meaning as they help patient after patient back to a state of health, they learn something new with each case and that helps the next patient they see.

Friday, February 26, 2010

How to Know When Your Doctor Sucks

{{es|The Doctor. Hermosa panorama de la profes...Image via Wikipedia
Are you aware that you can fire your doctor?

Every time I visit a doctor, I act like a client, not a patient. Patients can't fire doctors; customers can. Doctors are like fish in the ocean and you can easily get another and another and another until you find one who treats you like you deserve to be treated. Pay out of pocket if you have to. What is more important than your health?

Here are reasons I have fired more than 15 doctors and took my insurance or my cash elsewhere:
  • They spend 15 minutes or less with you and act rushed and very non-interested in hearing about your health concerns.
  • They interrupt you a lot and/or finish your sentences for you.
  • They are more than 20 minutes late and never apologize for keeping you waiting.
  • They are arrogant, haughty and full of themselves and thus have no time for you as there is only so much room in that brain of his and it is filled with thoughts of his awesomeness.
  • They refuse to give you a copy of YOUR lab work. It is YOUR body and YOU are legally permitted to have YOUR lab results.
  • They tell you "it's all in your head." That one causes me to stand up and walk out immediately without saying a word to the doctor. Even if I am sitting there in that flimsy paper gown, I will grab my things and change in the bathroom. He can figure it out later why I walked out, if he even cares that I did. It tends to at least startle them and give them an opportunity to wonder about what they might have said to offend you. Of course they also can decide you are indeed crazy and it is in your head but at that point I don't care what that doc thinks as he is fired.
  • They refer you to any doctor ending with an -ologist in their title. This often means they have no idea why you are before them whining again about how tired you feel so they push you off down the road to an -ologoist who will then most likely give you a prescribed drug and never consider your body as a whole. There may be a real need to one day see an -ologist but be on the lookout for this cop out move by your primary doctor.
  • They say you fit the Four F Profile -- Forty, Fat, Female and Fertile. When a doctor has the nerve to lay this one out, I am so very thankful I never took that concealed weapon class after all because this line causes me to go postal. I am likely to respond by telling this sort of doctor that he/she forgot the fifth F: F**K YOU!
Okay, fine, not everyone feels comfortable using the f-bomb in a doctor's office. I think you might though if your body is falling apart for a few decades and doctor after doctor blows your concerns off. Or worse, they prescribe the wrong medicine or remove the wrong body part surgically from you and you end up sicker and sicker and sicker.

If you aren't willing to walk away from an incompetent or lazy or uncaring doctor, then you are saying that you are willing to stay sick. And sick you will stay.

My excellent thyroid doctor wrote this down for me on his stationary the very first visit I had with him: "Never let your doctor determine how you feel." Sage advice.

For tomorrow's post, I will share the ways to know if you are sitting before a truly remarkable doctor.