My ultra-boring life

Friday, April 08, 2005

Medicine

OK, sorry for the long wait between posts, if you are caring and all that. I wrote 2 wonderful, brilliant, Pulitzer-prize winning posts, but in my fervor of typing I hit the exact right keystrokes to completely obliterate both of them before they saw the light of 'net. Now you guys get to have this dreck instead. :b

Anyway, medicine is an interesting thing. I've heard it said that we work to pay for the medicine to fix the health we've destroyed through too much work. Or something to that effect. In many ways, in America at least, I think that it's true. With the epidemics hitting America of diabetes, heart disease and cancer, most of which are most effectively fought by physical activity/work (the poor man's exercise) and eating more whole grains and fruits and vegetables (again, the traditional poor person's fare...see a pattern?), there's certainly something to back that adage up.

Still, I for one am appreciative of modern medicine. I have one of those unfortunate physiologies that reacts most poorly to our overabundance of rich food and ease, and being rather nerdy and therefore having a proclivity for more sedentary, unhealthy activities such as coding into the wee hours whilst eating rather imbalanced fare of macaroni and cheese with potato chips. Can I help it if God gave me a brain and a rather extreme fear of pain? My body takes these poor habits and magnifies them with a metabolism that works at only about 60% of normal, a condition called Syndrome X, or Metabolic Syndrome, or pre-diabetes. As my body does not metabolize fuel properly, it releases extra insulin which is then not processed promptly. The extra insulin damages tissues in the body, locks fat into the cells, and some of it transforms into other hormones such as estrogens and androgens, which in turn cause their own rash of grief. I would go into some of the symptoms, but let's just say these are the root cause of my childlessness and have put me into the hospital more than once.

This is why I am glad for modern medicine, with the caveat that finding good health care is a lot of work. I used to just go to the doctor when I was sick, and I usually had to be pretty dang sick to go. I accepted whatever they told me, and if they didn't tell me something, I didn't even think about it. But years ago this disorder I have was getting worse and no doctor did so much as run a single test on me or prescribe more than a birth control pill to control the most obvious symptoms. I had been given hints at a disorder that would make it difficult to have kids, but that was it. It was only through a conversation with a friend who happened to have the same disorder that I started to discover there was more to this than that, and she directed me to online resources that opened a new world for me. I cried as I discovered that many seemingly unrelated symptoms I had had over the years were related to this, which gave me hope that things I had considered personal failings might actually have an organic cause and be treatable. I also found my doctor, who is the greatest doctor in the world. My first visit he did a complete workup and scheduled a slew of tests -- the first ever for me. He promised me he would find out what this was and treat it accordingly. To have such attention and respect paid to me -- well, I have to say, I cried again. I've stuck with him ever since, but I also do my own research. There's a lot to know out there, and doctors get lazy same as anyone else. So do the research. And don't settle for bad doctors.

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