Are Today’s Medical Heroes Only Found on TV?

Posted: March 17, 2013 in Autism, Food allergies
Tags: , , , ,

When I was a child, I remember adults and family members often shared beloved stories of doctors.  Some of their children were even named after a doctor – or at least given associated initials in their name.  These doctors brought babies into the world, performed good deeds selflessly, and were not afraid to find their detective hats when a challenge was presented to them.  They made house calls, were an active part of the community, and genuinely cared about their patients.

Today, our medical heroes are often found on television.  Gone are the days when you could phone your doctor in the evening hours or even have a lengthy discussion on any medical matter of concern.  Gone are the days of finding the root cause of ailments.  Now, this investigative method has been replaced with prescription after prescription to treat a running list of symptoms.

Few doctors discuss the benefits of dietary changes.  Most jump to the easy conclusions and prescription medicines.  I have witnessed this flippancy myself, before I ever had to go to bat for my own son.  For years I suffered from severe intestinal pains and undiagnosed G.I. problems.  I asked multiple doctors for help.  I described the pain I encountered each month and even begged some of these doctors to simply order a few tests.  None were willing to help me.

I was told that I simply had to toughen up since this was just part of womanhood.  I was told that it was all in my head.  I was offered Vicodin, but not tests.  Finally, after nine plus years on my journey, I found a doctor who agreed to an ultrasound exam.  I was in tears on the table with validation when the ultrasound tech asked me what I’ve been doing for pain and then laughed when I said I take a lot of ibuprofen.

I was informed that I had a nearly seven pound fibroid tumor in my uterus.  The fibroid had been present for years and was not a problem during my pregnancy, but for some reason, it grew like gangbusters after my Wyatt entered the world.  The doctor believed that my painful episodes were labor-like contractions because this fibroid had grown so large my uterus decided it needed to go.  Could a seven pound tumor cause G. I. disruption and pain, you bet – especially when it’s mingled with lots of scar tissue from my previous emergency Cesarean!  Why did this take so long to get a simple ultrasound?  Why wouldn’t any of these other doctors listen to me?

Now I was looking at surgery – robot surgery at that.  At least I was on the cutting edge, quite literally. DaVinci Robot meant a more precise surgery with faster recovery.  The surgeon was sharp on his skills with a poor bedside manner.  For weeks my husband called me Captain Morgan’s because I had five little patches on my stomach where incisions were made.  Let me tell you, surgery hurts, but I’ve never regretted my decision to do this and love the fact that my life no longer revolves around such terrible pain.  It’s not been an easy recovery.  However, I’m much improved over where I was at a couple years ago.  I feel better and better and no longer experience labor pains on a regular basis.

Flash forward to the birth of my son Wyatt and his plethora of medical mysteries.  Add a dash of Autism with delayed communication, food allergies, food intolerances, and awkward motor skills and you’ve got a recipe for medical mayhem.  Oh, and you can’t forget about sensory dysfunction and OCD with anxiety.  When my husband was laid off his job, several years ago now, we lost our family’s health insurance.  Luckily, we were eligible for Medi-Cal during this time.  This meant we needed a new pediatrician.  Do you know that I spoke to over thirty-five doctors before I found one that would actually take the time to listen to us about our son?!  My son had a lengthy history that started at birth. He had food allergies, intestinal bleeding, and hospital stays.  Each incident was exacerbated when he received his immunizations and often resulted in a hospital visit; if not admission within three days of the administered vaccines.  Since this time, I’ve found out that numerous vaccines actually contain milk proteins – this is what he was terribly allergic to – it’s what caused his intestinal bleeding.

Here’s just one excerpt from an INFANTRIX GlaxoSmithKline product insert, “The diphtheria toxin is produced by growing Cornyebacterium diphtheria in Fenton medium containing a bovine extract.  Tetanus toxin is produced by growing Clostridium tetani in a modified Lantham medium derived from bovine casein.”  How did his doctor never consider this potential reaction?  I’m straying off topic here, and for sure, vaccines are a deep issue for another blog post, but I’m sure you get an idea of where I’m coming from.  Do you know the kind of look you get today, if you request a copy of the actual vaccine package insert?  Luckily these are all available online! Shouldn’t the fact that DTaP vaccine is cultivated with casein (milk protein) be present on the CDC’s Vaccine Information Statement?!  Perhaps Wyatt’s doctor might have noticed this VERY important fact if it were listed on this information sheet.  While I’m busy digressing, I also need to sneer at the telltale statement underlying the Severe Problems (Very Rare) section of this handout.  It states that serious allergic reaction, long-term seizures, coma, lowered consciousness, and permanent brain damage are, “So rare it is hard to tell if they are caused by the vaccine.”  Can you say “Cover your ass?!” Yup, that’s what I think of that!

Our current doctor is okay, but she’s still resistant to playing detective in her medical role.  Autism is simply a mystery, but it’s one that the smart detectives are chipping away at – little by little.  I believe that this disability is caused by a myriad of insults, which include genetic and environmental causes.  Some children are more predisposed to be affected by environmental toxins and experience a regression into Autism that isn’t present at birth.  Other children are afflicted with genetic Autism and experience developmental delays from the start of life.  Finally, since Autism is a spectrum disorder, children are impacted to varying degrees along this spectrum and may be impacted by both genetic predisposition and environmental factors.

We pay out of pocket for a specialist that is very knowledgeable in biomedical treatments for Autism.  He also happens to be a microbiologist and M.D. with an emphasis in infectious diseases.  He has been a cautious guide through many biomedical treatments we’ve implemented for our son.  There are many times that we need to discuss his recommended tests or course of investigation with our pediatrician.  She can be quite resistant to listen to his recommendations – even though he’s a licensed and practiced physician. When she is not cooperative we simply pay more out of pocket expenses.

Where is my Dr. Gregory House?  My Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable?  Seriously, where is Doogie Howser when you need him?  These are the types of doctors our children need – the ones who are never afraid to take the road not taken – those who put on their detective hats and get to work at finding the root causes behind our children’s symptoms.  In real life these doctors don’t seem to exist – at least they don’t for those of us without endless financial resources and comprehensive insurance.

All my best,

Muckraking Maven

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