I spent the greater part of yesterday by my daughter’s bedside as she underwent a routine upper endoscopy. The procedure was to find the cause of ongoing nausea that’s plagued her since she (and the rest of us) were struck by a stomach flu in mid February.
Now, I’m not a big “medical” person. I’m not the kind of mom to run to the doctor for every bug, bump, or bruise. Even when there are incidences, I’m more apt to use the traditional home medicines of the past—herbs, teas, tinctures, poultices, homeopathy—and diet modifications, than look for high tech medical solutions.
But I have to admit that after seeing her suffer multiple episodes of debilitating stomach aches, I was very happy to be able to get more definitive answers from a specialist—a pediatric gastroenterologist.
I’m glad to now know that it’s probably allergies. I’m also glad they could look at and biopsy the esophagus, where they suspected problems, and determine exactly what’s going on there.
I’m impressed and grateful that she had such a thorough, professional, informative, kind medical team and that the UVA Hospital was so easy to work with. And I’m thrilled for her to see a pediatric allergist and start pin pointing what exactly are her allergens, and how can we fix it.
In my view, a judicious use of “high tech” medical solutions is sometimes exactly what the doctor ordered.
Disease as an imbalance of the system
That said I still think we have a very troubled medical “system.” It has too many fingerprints by Big Pharma and there’s an over reliance on whiz-bang meds without enough focus on diet, nutrition and prevention. This is a particular concern as we enter the era of energy decline.
One of the areas likely to be hit the worst in peak oil is our medical system. But because as a culture we refuse to deal with peak oil, climate issues and rising energy costs (and their effects) in a comprehensive way, we’re leaving to chance the health of huge numbers of people, not to mention potentialy deadly disease outbreaks that could occur in the wake of even one small climate disaster event.
Hurricane Katrina and the recent Joplin, Mo. tornado are evidence enough of how a natural disaster can deliver a direct hit to hospitals, disabling or destroying them while patients are there, and becoming inoperable after a disaster has passed.
Resilience is the cure
Today I urge you to consider your own family’s emergency preparedness plan. Do you have extra meds for a family member who’s on a regular prescription? What would be the effect if you ran out of that medicine and there was no way to get a back up? Could beginning to shift now to a healthier diet and more exercise help lessen or eliminate any of your or your children’s health issues?
While you ponder your personal responsibilities I also urge you to not only expect but ask for a plan from your local, state and national government. A simple letter to a City Council member, County Supervisor, state and federal representatives and senators, along with your governor and president (you can use the same letter and modify it for each) asking how they plan to deal with peak oil and climate change as it relates to medical and health service continuation plans can help put the issue on their radar.
The last thing we’re going to need when the energy crunch kicks into higher gear is a bunch of people jonesing for their scrips. The last thing we’ll need is already hampered people having to tend to a family member whose vital services are collapsing in front of their eyes.
At the very least we should have some idea as a society and a nation about how we’re going to step down from the fossil fuel era with some semblance of a medical system still in tact—and one that’s not only for the rich, but for everyone.
The time to act is now. Prevention is the best medicine.
–Lindsay Curren, Lindsay’s List