Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Regular Medical Care

Like land and affordable housing, regular medical care should be a given--but in this country it seems like we have to fight for decent healthcare. And with peak oil and/or economic downturns, decent healthcare may turn out to be something quite different from the high tech industry that dominates healthcare now.

I need to say that my background is in conventional medicine. I've worked for over 20 years in hospital settings. While I appreciate alternative health approaches, I am firmly grounded in the 'western, allopathic' medical model. Still, I think most people have little understanding of its main message. A lot of it is common sense. While pharmaceuticals and surgical procedures get the attention (because this is a profit oriented culture), what I've learned from the world of medicine and nursing is that the most important things you can do to stay healthy are to eat a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, limit stress, rest and sleep as needed, and enjoy life. Like I said, common sense--but how many people in this society do it--or can do it?

The medical treatment of the common cold is still to simply drink plenty of fluids and get plenty of rest. With all the antibiotics on the market, the infection control nurses I have known just repeat: "Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands." In fact, scientific medical studies point out that widespread overuse of antibiotics is actually creating a worsening disease situation. The antibiotics wipe out all but the most resistant germs--thus breeding drug resistant germs. Medical authorities (for this reason) advise washing your hands with plain soap (which just sends the germs down the drain) and not with antibiotic soaps.

So a healthy society is going to be one where we take care of ourselves--and take care of each other. Personal and physical connections actually enhance health. And the healthier we are, the less we need expensive medical care.

It may be in the future that regular healthcare will consist of taking care of ourselves and having general practitioners around to help us when we need it--as specialists and high tech medicine become luxury items that will fade away.

Boston Women's Health Book Collective, Our Bodies, Ourselves--The classic book on women's health and sexuality information
Brian Clement, Living Foods for Optimum Health and Hippocrates Health Program--My raw food friends recommend this approach for maintaining your health
The Hesperian Foundation, Where There Is No Doctor--A classic book with a 2009 edition (and some of it is available online through their website) that's filled with useful information, including chapters on 'Healing without Medicines', 'Right and Wrong Use of Modern Medicine', 'How to Take Care of a Sick Person', and much, much more
Wynn Kapit and Lawrence M. Elson, The Anatomy Coloring Book--A great way to learn more about your body
Merck Manual--One of the best known medical reference books, it's expensive but it can be gotten from libraries or buy a used, out of date edition; the company (a major drug manufacturer that has been turning out these manuals since 1899) also publishes a fairly inexpensive Manual of Medical Information that is meant for the general public and written "in everyday language"--but I'm not sure the quality of the information is as good
Michael F. Roizen and Mehmet C. Oz, You:The Owner's Manual--An irreverent guide to your body with the authors' ideas of health advice added
Mike Samuels and Hal Bennett, The Well Body Book--Out of print 1973 classic on how to take care of yourself; another more recent version (Mike Samuels and Nancy Samuels, The Well Adult, 1988) is also out of print--but these books may be available in libraries or used bookstores

Quote of the Day: "The best six doctors anywhere, And no one can deny it, Are sunshine, water, rest, and air, Exercise and diet." - Nursery rhyme


Ingrid said...

Thank you so much for listing Where There Is No Doctor in your list of resources! You might also be interested in Where Women Have No Doctor, which was created because the specifics of women's health require a separate book - and as I'm sure you know, all over the world women have less access to healthcare. We have lots of other books, too, including A Book For Midwives, A Community Guide to Environmental Health, Helping Health Workers Learn, and more.

Thanks again!

Ingrid Hawkinson
Nonprofit Publishers of Where There Is No Doctor

MoonRaven said...

Thank you for publishing as fine a book as Where There Is No Doctor--as well as all the other books you carry--and making this information widely available. Where There Is No Doctor is a book I've known about for years and I know people involved with international health that rely on it. I'm glad the information is out there and I want to encourage people to take advantage of it.

I appreciate you taking the time to comment here.