Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Western Medicine

I've known a lot of people who rebel against what they call "western medicine" and what I call "evidence-based medicine."  I have friends who go to chiropractors and Christian Scientists to cure diseases.  I've known many who give themselves detoxification enemas to cure... Well, I'm not sure what they were suffering, but it must be awful if they're willing to give themselves enemas.
Once, I saw a woman in graduate school making her own herbal pills to combat seizures.  She told me she figured she could either take one western medicine pill a week or ten herbal supplements a day, and that she'd rather take something natural.  I didn't know her long enough to find out if they worked or not.
The most dramatic result of a rejection of western medicine I have ever seen happened in Chicago in 2006.  One of my son's preschool teachers disappeared without warning for two months.  When she returned, she told me what happened.
She suffers from Crohn's Disease, a congenital illness that causes intense pain and several other awful symptoms I won't go into.  There's no known cure, but it can be managed with steroids.
She hated taking steroids (who can blame her?) and tried alternative medicine.  She say much about what she tried, but I gathered it was both homeopathic medicine and acupuncture.  After several months of treatment, she had to be rushed to the hospital.  Her condition had worsened so much, they had to take out part of her bowel.
"You just can't beat western medicine," she told me, and sighed.


Ellen said...

Crohn's Disease is horrible. And the steroids you take to make your life somewhat normal have terrible side effects.

That being said, I'd take the steroids over the surgery any day.

Matthew Kagle said...

My point exactly.