When I first got into medicine I had desires to make a real difference in the lives of my patients. I was first given the opportunity to work in facial plastic surgery. I specialized in face lifts with the Doctor I worked with. I learned many great surgical techniques and loved the patients. I was then recruited to work in a family medicine clinic where I worked with many patients along the wasatch front. I found in modern family medicine I was prescribing a lot of medications to help with chronic disease and very little on preventing chronic conditions.
My entire philosophy in medicine was that for hundreds of years people lived long and healthy lives without this many prescriptions, so why now, are we seeing more patients who are frail and sick with a decreased quality of life. Why has there been a focus on treating trauma and emergencies but not when it comes to preventing and treating chronic conditions. I think Hippocrates has the answer, Let medicine be thine food and food be thine medicine.
I noticed a trend with many of my patients. They all seemed to want a pill to fix all their problems, from more complicated diseases like CHF to diabetes and even mental disorders. I had to prescribe what I would call western medicine first line medications for these issues. I soon lost faith in the medicines I was prescribing. It seemed I was having to prescribe other medications to combat the side effects of the first medication and the perpetual list of medications would grow. Pressure from patients, their families and insurance companies dictating what medications I could or couldn’t prescribe really became frustrating. I knew there had to be a better way.
With every basic principal I had, this way of medicine couldn’t be what I signed up for. Unfortunately, that is the way western medicine seems to work, come in for a problem and we give you a medication to help or try and fix the problem. The system has programmed us to think like this. Like many of you, that route didn’t work and often times made things worse. Your problems never improved and here you are left with Doctor after Doctor reviewing your labs and telling you that everything looks normal. Yet you still feel sick. Over my time as a provider I have adopted many different perspectives. The first is that you are not your disease, second small changes now will make huge differences later. Third if you don’t make time for your health now, you will be forced to make time for your disease. These basic principles are my direction in medicine now.