Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Demons crowd in to fill gap in excercising

My daily bike riding has been far from daily over the last two or three weeks. Family visits and other discombobulating events have interfered. Uncooperative relatives visiting from out of town refuse to be transported around on the back of a bicycle, and local family members live far enough apart to require bicycling for hours each day if I were to stick to my no-car plan. In short, most of my daily routine went to hell in a hand basket, with my body following right behind it.

For the 100th time I have to conclude that I’m just barely held together by exercise, because whenever I stop, the array of ailments that sally forth astounds me. One thing hurts, this other part is making creaking noises, this other thing doesn’t work, joints threaten to roll out of their sockets, I’m compelled to nap, I feel lousy, etc etc, -- none of which utter a peep when my daily transportation around town adds up to a minimum of sixty minutes of bicycling.

I read somewhere that “ninety percent of the time, the body heals itself.” I wish I knew who I was quoting, but I do believe we’re each just a big walking immune system, hacking through the jungle of attacking illnesses as we go about our day. The minute you stand still, they win. Got to keep the machete honed so you can keep hacking away.

You know what I’ve noticed? On the few occasions when I’ve indulged in going to the doctor about some vague thing, they rarely ask how much exercise I'm getting. Nor do they ask how much sleep I'm getting or how much water I'm drinking. Not even what kind of food I eat. They just start with a symptom and try to fix that – but it could have any of a thousand causes, and they really don’t know. So they start trying this and that to see if something alleviates the symptom, and you become a human laboratory until something works. But you could be on a diet of Coke and Fritos with four hours of sleep a night and no water and there are some doctors who wouldn't figure that out.

You might argue that the mechanic doesn't ask you if you pour Koolaid into your gas tank. But people are smarter about cars than they are about their bodies. Besides, there are no ads that tell you it's ok to put other stuff in your gas tank, whereas there are zillions of ads that tell you it's ok to put all kinds of weird things into your body. There 's a lot of perfectly legal misinformation about what's ok for your body.

I think western medicine is good for when you’re already way into the problem – like when your ____ needs to be replaced. Now that your ______ has completely ceased to function, they can see that. Or when you’ve been in an accident and you need to be actually put back together, as in Humpty Dumpty.

Aren’t I horrible? I know there are a lot of good doctors in the world. But I’m going to do everything I can to stay away from them, all the same. The thought of a doctor visit is all it takes to motivate me.


At 8:27 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

I took a rest day yesterday, and I felt horrible. I'm not sure if it was because I was exhausted from riding too much, or if I felt ill from not riding.

Agreed on the Western medicine. It's the "Sick Care" industry! The profits are made from keeping people sick.

My brother is studying to be a naturopathic Dr. up at Bastyr University. It makes a lot of sense. They ask the questions you brought up. Before prescribing pills, they find out what your habits and diet are. Treat the cause, not relieve the symptoms.

I think the best thing we can do is get regular exercise and eat the best food possible to keep that immune system working at its best!

At 12:22 PM, Blogger kate gawf said...

Interesting essay, Jeff. His tone is a little caustic for me. He's got that good-guys/bad-guys world view. The "us against them" attitude that ends up polarizing people and issues. I agree with a lot of what he says, but I don't think that everyone in western medicine is evil.
Also, even though I just wrote all that stuff about dumb doctors who don't ask the most basic questions, I've also had experiences that indicate western medicine is moving over a little bit, and opening up to a more wholistic outlook.
About a year ago I went to my gyno and complained about bloating. She asked if I ate a lot of salt and I said no, I use the saltshaker but I don't drown my food in it. She said "Do you eat any canned soups or other packaged foods? Those things are loaded with sodium."
I started looking at labels of cans of soup and beans that I had thought were ok (in part because they were not the standard junky brands and they were labeled 'natural' or 'healthy' or some damn thing) and I was SHOCKED. A single serving often contains more than one's daily limit of sodium.
Anyway my point is they're not all stupid, and they're getting better, at least here in Oregon.
Oregon's big on alternative health care options, and even the insurance companies consent to cover some of it (very limited), but at the same time, if I get creamed in an accident (god forbid) I won't be dialing the naturopath from my little grease spot on the pavement.

So that's my answer to whatisname who wrote that opinion piece.

At 4:50 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

I think western medicine is good for trauma injuries. I've been to the ER a few times in the last few years with family and friends that crashed their bikes.

I think you do live in a more enlightened area, and I hope to live up there some day!

Mike Adams is the author of that essay. He writes many of the articles over at News Like you say though, sometimes he can be a bit extreme. For the most part, I do agree with him though.

Several years ago I had a blood test that came back reporting high cholesterol. The Dr. scribbled down a note on the results, "Low Cholesterol Diet". I think he should've taken the time to figure out what I was eating though. I was reading labels for the cholesterol content, but was still eating plenty of hydrogenated oils which raise your cholesterol. I went out and did the research on my own and came up with a better diet.

Mike Adams usually attacks the industry itself, not the doctors. He often talks about the drug companies inventing diseases so they can sell more products. Back when I had cable TV, I remember an ad for "Restless Leg Syndrome". Now rather than listening to your legs screaming, "Let's go for a ride!", they recommend you shut them up with some pills!


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