Last month my 83 year old mother had knee replacement surgery. This is the same mother you may have read about in my bio that asked my siblings and I daily if we had had a BM!!!! My mom is amazing! At 83 she takes O prescription drugs and will barely take an aspirin when needed! So, having said that, you can imagine that she did not take this need for surgery lightly. Her mantra has always been, “No nursing home for me” but considering that she still has so much life left in her, a new knee was what had to be!
We checked into Scripps Memorial Hospital in Encinitas, California on Valentines Day last month. Needless to say, the amount of times she was asked what prescription drugs she takes I could not guess. I understand that this is very important and part of the procedure, however, I could tell these people were seriously mystified by my mother. Finally, after one of these many times I could no longer contain myself and had to add “SHE TAKES NOTHING- N-O-T-H-I-N-G!!!! The admitting nurse stared at me in amazement!
She was then given the typical cocktail someone undergoing orthopedic surgery would be given, Oxycontin, Celebrex and Tylenol. Apparently its this trio that is believed to reduce swelling, bruising and inflammation. Naturally I had to point out to the nurse that these same medications were also responsible for debilitating addictions and serious side affects! I just couldn’t help myself! How unfortunate that they have never heard of a wonderful homeopathic medication called Arnica, it does the same thing but with no side affects. At any rate, I had to be ok with this even though I knew that later this was going to be a problem. And sure enough it was. At one point, when coming down off these drugs, and so many of them I may add, her entire body went into spasm. She looked as though she had developed Parkinson disease overnight. She was given yet more medications to counteract the side affects of the ones her body was trying to rid itself of. Ok, I will say she didn’t experience any spiders on the walls or visits from past relatives, but it was still scary!
The surgery went very well. Unbeknownst to the powers that be, I had had my mother on a stiff regiment of the homeopathic remedy Arnica, mentioned above. This remedy is known to reduce the impact of trauma, surgery or the like. It reduces inflammation and bruising, and shortens the healing process substantially. This remedy has crossed over to conventional medicine and is used often by dentists and plastic surgeons. Just so you know, homeopathy does not conflict with conventional medicine and in no way interferes. Unfortunately, they do not understand this, so hence the secrecy. I feel very confident that had she not had the arnica, the outcome would not have been as good. The bruising and swelling were drastically reduced, her surgeon said so himself, and was “amazed” by my mothers ability to heal so quickly! I can’t help but smile as I write this.
To say that the first few days were not difficult would be a lie and misleading. It was difficult for my mother, and her pain was great. It is here that these types of prescription medications are perfectly and appropriately prescribed. However, it is what I witnessed after her surgery that is so disheartening to me and the reason for this blog. As expected, there was no food or drink for a good 24 hours and then some. This is understandable. However, my mothers first meal, after going with out food for this many hours and having gone through the trauma of surgery astounded me. Her first meal consisted of pancakes, jello, some sort of lemon slushy thing and coffee. White flour, white sugar, caffeine. What a trio! When I brought this to the attention of her nurse, her response to me was that my mother was not on a restricted diet and that she was not diabetic. I stood there in disbelief. It was there that I began to think to myself, here I am, standing only a few feet away from another person in the “health” field, and I could not feel further removed. Later on that day, a very large cinnamon sweet roll, with about a 3 ” glob of frosting on top was delivered to the patient next to my mother. Again, I brought this to the attention of the nurse. Now she was staring at me in disbelief. Again she stated that these patients were not on restricted diets nor were they diabetic. It was here that I felt my Irish temperament begin to show signs of unleashing! I said to her in response, “they may not be diabetic now, but they surely will be by the time they leave this place!” Her response to me was beyond belief. She stated that “these people need a treat”. Helloooo, how about a bowl of fresh fruit and some good organic dark chocolate??? I’m thinking to myself, I’m on Mars! I just know it, somehow, I took a wrong turn somewhere, and put my precious mother up in a hospital on Mars. There is no other explanation for this! Good Grief! My blood began to boil. It took every ounce of self control to keep myself in check. Through clenched teeth, I said to her, “I guess we are just coming from two different places.” She then asked me if I would like to make an appointment with the dietitian, which I declined. I was in no mood to “fight city hall”!
People in hospitals, no matter how fearless they may be are in a state of fight or flight. Their immune systems are compromised, they are ill, perhaps gravely and may have undergone radical surgeries. They are not sleeping, for no one can sleep peacefully in a hospital with the constant interruptions throughout the night and from what I witnessed, definitely not eating well. I am sorry to say, that for the most part, hospitals in this country are not a place of wellness. There is a tremendous amount of information available to us today about nutrition and wellness and how it relates to illness. I was truly flabbergasted by what I saw during my mothers week long stay. Apparently they have missed this information, how I am not sure! Isn’t this California, the land of the beautiful people??? The land of conscientious living with a strong emphasis on diet and exercise??? To me its as common as knowing that cigarette smoking is bad! However, there are still people that have missed that news flash!! Giving these patients a huge glycemic dump hardly seems responsible or prudent. Most people in hospitals are on some kind of pain killer where the main side affect is constipation. Add in a diet rich in refined sugar and this is the perfect storm! Sugar also inhibits the healing process tremendously, another known fact! So what do they get next? Stool softeners, laxatives and longer stays, which subjects them to further illness and infection. In come more antibiotics and so on. Our thinking is very backwards. It is reactive instead of being proactive. While you may be thinking to yourself that I may be being a bit unfair here, I would like to add that I am in no way criticizing the good people that work in hospitals. Their care and dedication go above and beyond the expected. These are truly people called to a life of service and have a real calling to do good. However, I must ask this difficult question, why are so many “health care” professionals seriously over weight? I’m not talking 10 or 15 lbs, I’m talking serious obesity. There is a huge disconnect between what is health and “modern” medicine. I feel like a dog looking into a fan, with my head cocked to one side! What are we doing???
We must start looking at this huge problem of health care in a total different light, because right now its not HEALTH CARE its ILLNESS CARE! The idea of “alternative” health care really needs to be considered first and foremost, not secondary or as a last resort. So many people come to homeopathy or other alternative modalities when they have exhausted all other measures, and they are just a jumbled mess that requires a lot longer to unravel. They have strayed so far from their normal it makes it almost impossible to see where the derailment began. I am not, nor have I ever been a serious politically minded person, however times are a changin! Our health and wellness options are pivoting on the edge of a cliff. The companies that control this country and our hospitals nearly put homeopathy off the map some 100yrs ago. Not because it didn’t work, but because it took their business. Its happening again. However this time the consumer is much more savvy. Lets stay educated and focused on our health. Demand from your doctors alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs first, lets get these conventional doctors to think outside the pharmaceutical box, and get them to save them for life threatening issues. Make those the alternatives, not the first go to. Be your own advocate and take responsibility for your WELLNESS!
I realize that in my line of work there are many fakes and quacks! Just as there are good MD’s and bad MD’s. Do your research, ask for referrals from people you trust, check references. Take responsibility. The pay off is rich and rewarding! Your children’s children will be happy you did!!!