Both Patient and Doctor

Continuing on last night’s subject, a comment by thelastfurlong – that people were increasingly using the internet to diagnose their own ailments – set me thinking about other ways in which people might respond to loss of trust in the medical profession.

If people self-diagnose, then they’ll probably self-medicate as well. There’d be a growing black market for prescription drugs (as distinct from recreational drugs), herbal remedies, and any number of ‘alternative’ medicines.

Today’s thought was that if there were black market drugs, there’d also likely be black market doctors. The black market drug dealers might themselves become ‘doctors’.

Equally, some real doctors, disenchanted with state-controlled medicine, might quit conventional medical practice for a much more lucrative and imaginitive and effective private practice. I’m not sure how legal or practical this might be in the UK, but dissatisfaction with state medicine would make for customers looking for other ways of getting medical care, and being prepared to pay for it.

I don’t have anything so exotic available to me, although I’m sure it’s out there somewhere.

Instead I pay great attention to anything that goes wrong with me.

For example, a few years ago, I discovered to my horror that my left leg and left foot were markedly less healthily pink than my right leg and right foot. It was some sort of circulation problem, and occasionally accompanied by numbness and tingling. I began to pay close attention to my legs, and how I was using them.

After a while I realised that I was quite often sitting with one leg crossed over the other in a way that often resulted in the top leg ‘going to sleep’.  And there were other ways I was sitting that had similar effects. I began to stop myself sitting in these ways. I began to treat my left leg with great care and attention.

There was no immediate response, but over the next year my left leg gradually improved, and re-acquired the healthy pink colour of its companion. It’s still not completely perfect, but it’s a great improvement, all brought about by simply stopping myself from unwittingly squeezing my left leg and reducing blood flow in it.

And then I started occasionally having heart palpitations. Once again, I began paying close attention. Had there been anything I’d been doing in the hours or days before the palpitations came on? For a while I was almost resigned to visiting a doctor, but then I noticed that the heart palpitations came on whenever I aggravated an old injury in my lower left rib cage, which brought on local muscle spasms. So I then started exploring what I had done to aggravate the old injury, and found that it was greatly aggravated by sitting on a chair with my torso twisted to the right. Just like with the left leg, I now started preventing myself sitting in this manner. I soon ceased to have muscle spasms, and also the accompanying heart palpitations.

I think that if I’d been to a doctor, I’d probably now be on both leg medication and heart medication. Instead I found what the causes were simply by paying close attention to these problems, and eventually realising that both were consequences of bad posture, and thereby fixed the problem. Neither had anything to do with diet or smoking or drinking: the problem had been entirely one of posture.

And in fact no doctor would have been able to carry out either of these investigations – because they didn’t have the “inside knowledge” that I did. What doctor ever pays any attention to posture? But I could be both the patient and the doctor. I could study the problem in a way no doctor ever could.

And, as my doctor, of course I never ever give myself lectures about smoking. Because, quite simply, I’ve never found smoking to have any ill effects at all. Quite the opposite, it always has benign effects.

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About Frank Davis

smoker
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26 Responses to Both Patient and Doctor

  1. harleyrider1978 says:

    Frank that posture stuff you are so right about. Ive had scoliosis forever and its always pain fom between the shoulder blades and when you hit it just right,it will cause your chest muscles to literally tighten up and make your heart palpitate. I used a chiropractor off and on for manipulation and this one time back in the 80s I had a weeks of tightness and palpitations in my 20s and this guy felt down my back found the spot between them blades. He popped it one time with me facedown and knocked the wind out of me and I saw stars. I laid there like a MAC truck had just been pulled off me. All of a sudden no palpitations no chest muscle tightness etc etc………even the hips he cured after just 3 visits. So I broke down and bought me what he used on me for therapy appointments when I didn’t get manipulated and it keeps your spine in alighnment really good after the doc gets you str8.

    Ive already had to repair this machine once last week when the auto retract circuit relay went bad but ehh for a machine 12 years old not to bad. I have the relay on order,its nice to have electrica/electronics background. That was 1600.00 delivered to the door and set up.

  2. The Blocked Dwarf says:

    It was some sort of circulation problem

    A German smoker’s joke which probably won’t ‘work’ in English: Man goes to the doctors complaining of sharp pains in his right foot and calf. GP asks him if he is a smoker. The man replies that he is and has been since he was a teen. GP says ‘You have “Smokers’ Leg”. The man however asks “But what if i had never smoked, what would you have diagnosed then?” to which the doc instantly replies “then you’d have ‘Shop Window Disease’.

    No that didn’t work did it? Oh well perhaps I should explain that Peripheral arterial disease is commonly known in German as ‘Smokers leg’ or ‘Shop Window Disease’ (as suffers keep having to stop when walking and ‘hide’ the pain by admiring shop window displays).

    Like many German jokes there is a non too subtle comment in there.

  3. waltc says:

    In the US many docs are doing something called (I think) “concierge care.” Not quite black market but above market. They only take a limited number of patients who pay a flat fairly high annual fee in advance and therefore get immediate 24/7 service as needed. (And so the attempt to equalize care causes two-level care–one for the rich and one for the rabble.)

    Doesn’t the uk still have private doctors? Years ago in London I was stricken with something or other and a friend sent me to her private non-NHS doctor. Satisfactory , immediate and not expensive.

    No doubt you’d be on six meds and equally no doubt you’d’ve been told both your problems were caused by your smoking.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Walt ya theres a few docs doing wht your talking about here in ky. Its strictly confidential treatment and their liscenced they just only see a few select patients. My Cousin is seeing one now after her regular docs office was lets say raided and shut down.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Doesn’t the uk still have private doctors?

      I think so. But I’ve never had one.

      • Cecily Collingridge says:

        The UK still has private healthcare. Since the 19thC, Harley Street in London has been a centre for private specialists. There are a number of private hospitals around the country, e.g run by BUPA. Some large companies offer subsidised private healthcare schemes for their employees (which I once took advantage of). Not all hospitals have intensive care facilities though, should there be complications. Some GPs and consultants work both within the NHS as well as having private patients. For those that can afford it, you can go into an NHS hospital as a private patient. Conversely, the NHS can outsource to the private sector when there is a lack of capacity.

        However, the creeping privatisation of the NHS is a VERY controversial subject.

      • Furtive Ferret says:

        I believe that all doctors in the UK are fundamentally private. GPs are simply contracting their services to the NHS. On this basis you can see your doctor on a private basis and get a private prescription.

  4. Nell B says:

    Let’s face it, way back when….GPs were ‘invented’, there were just as many diseases, but very few pharmaceutical medicines available. Being a GP was a vocation and they were available 24 hours a day and knew all their patients well.
    These days it’s simply a career choice. No GP can keep every symptom/drug/side effects/contraindications/drug interactions in their head and most are unwilling to spend time finding out what they can’t remember. I’m sure there must be some genuinely excellent ones out there somewhere, but I’ve only met one or two and both have now retired.
    If you’ve got a brain & aren’t a hypochondriac, the information available on the internet gives you a far better chance of diagnosing your problem than a visit to a GP.
    In my past –
    GPs diagnosis-strained calf muscle-wrong! My diagnosis DVT-phone call to A&E with my symptoms, told to get there immediately, literally saved my life, the blood clot had spread from ankle to groin & they caught it just in time.
    Use a GP surgery for your annual MOT if you fancy, but don’t expect much more.

  5. Oh I identify with your story. Some years ago I developed a strange feeling in my right leg – thigh and calf. I also suspected posture because I’m on computers a lot. By pure chance in trying to observe what my legs were doing at my computer desk, I realised our new router of six months standing was on the shelf not an inch from my right knee. I moved the router and in a week I was cured! Even if I’d told the doctor of my discovery he’d not have believed me because science tells him wifi has no effect on the human body.

    I think a lot of us don’t actually buy drugs on the black market because we don’t go to the doctor to AVOID them in the first place. We consult the internet to find a solution that is less harmful.

    Well WE do!

  6. Clicky says:

  7. Cecily Collingridge says:

    Wherever there is a lack of supply, black/grey marketeers will try to fill demand. There’s a growth in junk science, counterfeit drugs and the illegal organ trade after all.

  8. harleyrider1978 says:

    OK guys and Dolls………I just got the call from the horses mouth. If you get hooked on pain killers this is what you do and boy did I do it wrong.

    First no more than 5mg reduction per 7 day period. Then when down to 5mg take it one hour before midnite so back pain can be overcome. During those last 2 weeks of down dosing your bodies natural endorphins are starting to stabilize again. Then after the final dose at 7 days anything left should be easily handled by regular Tylenol or such.

    I went from 15mg a day to 5 mg a day in 3 days then tried to detox……..big big no no…….So 7 days from today the doc said you should be fine with very little discomfort.

    • The Blocked Dwarf says:

      I hear what you say, I had always treated the DTs as abit of a joke until I went cold turkey (very much against my GP’s advice) from a 1 1/2 of scotch a day. Wasn’t until the woodchip of the dining room wallpaper started to taunt me by forming itself into names and dates that could still get my jail time that I realised what was going on.

      Hell, I wrote about it here (if anyone is remotely interested in the ravings of a drying out alcoholic) http://n2d.boardhost.com/viewtopic.php?id=536

      Now adays if I come off any medication more than paracetamol then i do it slooOOOOow. Anytime I meet an alcoholic thinking about coming off I tell them NOT to stop drinking without LISTENING to their GP first….and getting him to prescribe the drugs to lessen the DTs in advance.

      I will never forget standing in the bathroom shaking in abject terror like i have never felt before even in with the shit and piss running down my legs while my dearly , but clinically insane paranoid psychotic, beloved wife tried to talk me down! Truly a ‘both shall fall into the pit’ moment.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        I hear ya. I was told most folks at 4or5 a day of 10s cant get past the 3 a day mark and end up in a 3-7 day recovery unit………Now that would suck as you cant even have a smoke while your going thru hell week.

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          BTW the doc just called back and said make it 10 days at 5mg and then 7 days at 2.5mg.

          She said by then your endorphins shouldbe at practically normal levels completely and you probably wont even need a Tylenol.

  9. harleyrider1978 says:

  10. smokingscot says:

    I’m not sure about qualified western style doctors sort of dropping out and doing things under the radar. My understanding is they can only retain their qualifications if they continue to practice medicine of the type they’re qualified for. That’s why all these representative bodies exist, though it seems in Britain it’s the general Medical Council that issues licences to practice medicine.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_license

    Where you’re spot on is with immigrant groups; there are many “doctors” within those minority groups, some of whom have set up quite sophisticated surgeries within their houses. They may be qualified in their own country, but don’t have the English skills to work here.

    Of course there are oh so many shaman’s here as well as what we used to describe as “witch doctors” (they’re the one’s who tell parents their child is possessed and beating, starvation and abuse is the only way to rid the child of the possessor). They’re nasty bits of goods.

    For the most part we’re pretty much the same as yourself, we know they’re there, but we can’t access them. And given the circumstances under which they operate, I wouldn’t want to.

    Where there is a general melting pot is herbal treatments. A couple of years back it seemed we had some Chinese herbalist in every second shopping mall in Edinburgh, however their modus operandi was bloody awful. Any ailment was answered with a barrage of ludicrously expensive tablets, pills, tinctures and so on – and most turned out to be pretty ineffective.

    Holland and Barrett however is going from strength to strength, with this 2014 report seeming to confirm your overall suspicions. We are increasingly self-medicating.

    http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-2786991/Sales-good-health-Holland-Barrett.html

    In the case of myself I use H & B only for stock standard “food supplements”, however for advice and where I want a very low dosage (my belief is slow, gradual and long term), I prefer the smaller more intimate places where the person behind the counter has an interest in and knowledge of their products, rather than look it up on the computer.

  11. igrowmyown says:

    O/T according to BBC text service French students are to be allowed to smoke on campus again following the Paris terrorists shootings.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Hmm maybe terrorism will work to destroy the smoking bans………..make enuf of them think ww2 is raging again and the bans are dead.

  12. harleyrider1978 says:

    Fearing lean times, U.S. companies tighten purse strings

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – The capital spending slump that originated in the hard-hit energy sector appears to be spreading more widely across other U.S. industries.

    Companies cutting or flat-lining their capital expenditures in 2016 outpace those that say they will increase spending by a factor of more than two to one, according to a Reuters analysis.

    Companies in industries as diverse – and relatively strong – as healthcare, consumer goods and restaurants are among those tightening their belts in yet another sign that economic growth in 2016 may be anemic.

    For instance, McDonald’s Corp , which saw its stock jump 26.1 percent in 2015 and is trading at record levels now, said it would keep capex flat with 2015 at about $2 billion, the company’s lowest budget in more than five years.

    Drugmaker Eli Lilly is holding its capex budget flat and Verizon Communications Inc said it plans to cut its budget from $17.8 billion, to between $17.2 and $17.7 billion.

    “I think companies are going to be lean and mean and are going to keep the purse strings tight and only spend where absolutely necessary, because cash isn’t coming into them,” said Kim Forrest, senior equity research analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group in Pittsburgh.

    Companies typically invest more when they feel confident that the economy is improving, so a downturn in capital spending could portend further weakness ahead.

    That corporate caution follows another expected decline in revenues in the fourth quarter and data showing U.S. economic growth braked sharply in the quarter.

    To be sure, some well-heeled companies in healthy industries are bumping up their investments.

    Medical technology company Stryker expects to have capital expenditures as high as $450 million in 2016, up from $270 million in 2015. Facebook plans capital expenditures between $4 billion and $4.5 billion this year, up from $2.5 billion.

    But even growth in information technology spending – which has been strong in recent years – appears to be off its recent peaks, according to International Data Corp analyst Stephen Minton.

    “U.S. companies will increase their spending, but not by the rate it has been over the last two years,” he said.

    Hardware spending in 2016 for all U.S. companies is expected to grow 3 percent to about $133 billion. Telecommunications and financial services companies – typically among the biggest spenders on IT – are expected to have flat to little growth in spending, he said.

    At least 43 companies plan to cut, or leave unchanged, their capital spending levels in 2016, while about 20 are increasing, according to a Reuters review of Standard & Poor’s 500 companies that have given explicit early guidance.

    Not surprisingly, the collapse in capital spending by energy companies – which typically lead in capex – appears to be accelerating.

    This year marks the second round of big cuts for energy companies, which have had to sharply scale back spending because of the drop in oil prices since mid-2014.

    A slew of energy names have announced capex cuts for 2016 including Hess , Anadarko Petroleum , Halcon Resources Corp , Noble Energy Inc and Continental Resources Inc .

    The broad slump in commodities prices has hit spending by materials companies, including DuPont , which is cutting capex from $1.4 billion to $1.1 billion, and industrials such as railroads Union Pacific and Norfolk Southern , both of which slashed capital spending plans for 2016.

    Even airlines, which benefit from low energy prices, are being careful. Delta Air Lines , for example, said it would hold the line in 2016 at $3 billion in spending.

    “That is really the optimum number that we can execute on,” said Richard Anderson, Delta chief executive.

    https://ca.news.yahoo.com/fearing-lean-times-u-companies-tighten-purse-strings-063332690–sector.html

  13. harleyrider1978 says:

    Feb 2, 9:54 AM EST

    UBS bank shares plunge as rich investors withdraw money
    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_SWITZERLAND_EARNS_UBS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2016-02-02-06-56-54

    Looks like hell has no fury economic crash is here right around the corner.
    Yahoo laid off 15% of its TOTAL STAFF OF WORKERS TOO.

  14. Cecily Collingridge says:

    Off topic – Whilst people are increasingly blamed for their own ill-health, attributed to lifestyle choices, their work and environment are let off the hook. Here’s an extract from
    Hazards special online report, December 2015
    HSE defends its impotence in the losing battle against work’s diseases

    The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has a legal duty to provide a medical service, making sure our bodies aren’t chockful of deadly substances or otherwise wrecked at work. But, finds Hazards editor Rory O’Neill, its medical division is nearing extinction, the whole occupational medicine profession could follow suit and the UK’s workplace diseases crisis is continuing unchecked.

    …Compared to the service provided in the early 1990s, HSE is now serving a greatly expanded labour force with less than one-fifth the in-house medical expertise.
    The watchdog is required by law to provide occupational medicine expertise and medical surveillance to keep tabs on worker exposure to some of the deadliest substances – including lead, asbestos and other carcinogens – and workplace environments around.
    But, according to at least one well-placed individual with insider knowledge, HSE is falling down on the job. Anne Raynal, a former HSE senior medical inspector, says HSE neither polices how firms respond to health threats at work nor meets its own monitoring duties.
    In a November 2015 editorial in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), the veteran occupational physician warns “occupational medicine is unlikely to survive as a specialty because of a lack of enforcement of the employers’ duty not to harm the health of their workers by the Health and Safety Executive.”
    The article, titled ‘Occupational medicine in demise,’ notes that Great Britain is the only major country in Europe that does not have a legal requirement for occupational health services, either by the state or employer, which would find these diseases early, she explains.
    According to Raynal: “Only 0.3 per cent of the 500,000 annual incidences of work related ill health, estimated from the Labour Force Survey, are reported to the HSE. However, no prosecutions have been brought for not reporting occupational diseases or related deaths under the statutory regulations in the past five years.”
    A lack of resources certainly explains some of the difficulties faced by HSE. Raynal notes that when HSE was created in the mid-1970s, HSE’s medical wing “was envisaged to have 100 full time equivalent doctors.” Now across all of HSE, the watchdog has just one-tenth that number.
    It’s not just about what HSE does, it is also about what it knows. With greatly reduced medical activity, the government’s workplace health regulator has precious little intelligence on which workplaces are making their workers sick and how.
    Nor are HSE’s field inspectors picking up the slack. Preventive inspections have all but ended and for at least one of the big beasts – workplace stress – HSE has taken no enforcement action at all in recent years (Hazards 128). According to Stress-related and psychological disorders in Great Britain 2014, an October 2014 report from the HSE: “The rates of work-related stress, depression or anxiety, for both total and new cases, have remained broadly flat for more than a decade.”
    Other health risks languish in the HSE ‘failed’ column. HSE has failed consistently to address effectively the risks posed by silica, which include the frequently deadly silicosis and lung cancer, an occupational hazard with which the pharaohs were familiar.

    See the full report here: http://www.hazards.org/workandhealth/doctorno.htm

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) could not even produce evidence that passive smoke is harmful inside, this is what they wrote prior to the smoking ban in article 9 OC255/15 9 “The evidential link between individual circumstances of exposure to risk in exempted premises will be hard to establish. In essence, HSE cannot produce epidemiological evidence to link levels of exposure to SHS to the raised risk of contracting specific diseases and it is therefore difficult to prove health-related breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act”. The reason the ban was brought in under the Health Act 2006, and not by the HSE, because no proof of harm was needed with the Health Act 2006, and the HSE have to have proof, seems the DM has lost rational thought about anything smoke related.

      HATE IS A TERRIBLE THING TO WASTE

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      They actually don’t need to waste the money on it,simply follow American OSHA guidelines on PELS………NUF SAID.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Workplace stress is not an occupational hazard in the sence of safety on the job. Therefore HSE have no reason to even consider such insane jurisdiction. Whats next sexual frustration stress at work because the hot blonde wont bang you.

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