A few days ago my 4-year-old son came home from daycare with a runny nose and complaints of a sore throat. I did what most moms would do and grabbed a flashlight so I could peer into his throat.
It looked red and I could see the beginning of a few white spots. A quick check with the thermometer revealed he was running a temperature of 101 degrees.
It was clear that he was sick but rather than give him Tylenol or call the doctor, I gave him a small bowl of oatmeal with lots of cinnamon and a tablespoon of raw honey.
As most moms are when their kids get sick, I was worried about him. Because he had a fever, I set my alarm clock so it would wake me up every few hours throughout the night and I could check on him; I wanted to make sure his fever wouldn’t soar while we were sleeping.
In the morning his throat looked a little better but he was coughing and congested. For the next few days we huddled over a humidifier, loaded up on garlic, cinnamon, raw honey, and visited the chiropractor. By the end of the week he was feeling better and life moved on.
What we didn’t do was visit our pediatrician. I didn’t rush him in to get a throat culture and a prescription for antibiotics. I did what I could do at home and thankfully, it worked.
But had you heard some of the phone calls I received that week regarding my unwillingness to take my son to the doctor, you would’ve thought I was willfully neglecting a child on the verge of death.
“He was sick! When kids are sick they need to be seen by a real doctor! Maybe he would’ve only been sick for a day or two instead of five whole days if you’d gotten him an antibiotic!”
Wow, simmer down. I was hardly over here giving him CPR while I slid him closer to the humidifier and refused to let the paramedics in. Can we all just relax a bit?
I shun much of Western medicine and apparently, that freaks the hell out of some people.
Both of my kids had medical problems at birth. My children have a genetic condition and because of that, we’ve visited countless hospitals, attended many appointments with our pediatrician, and sat through a million specialist appointments in between. If anyone’s familiar with “a medical life,” it’s me.
That being said, I simply don’t agree with much of it anymore.
Aside from having a hospital make a medical mistake that nearly killed my daughter, my kids were relentlessly sick with “regular” kid illnesses — colds on top of colds, ear infections right after strep throat, and seemingly endless cycles of the stomach flu.
Not only did I no longer trust doctors but even when I reached out to them for help, they seemed to be doing more harm than good.
They tried everything: Removing adenoids, surgically implanting ear tubes, running through antibiotics like kids run through batteries in their toys — yet my kids were still always still sick.
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t blame the doctors personally; I blame the downfall of our healthcare system. We have overworked doctors governed by insurance companies rather than their sense of compassion and overly-skewed research studies funded by agenda-ridden drug companies.
I think we can all agree that healthcare in America is becoming less about “care” and more about profit and I’ve had enough of it.
Because of that, I stopped running to the doctor when my kids got sick. And when I made the “mistake” of telling anyone about it, I was quickly labeled everything from “hippie” to “neglectful.”
People claim medical knowledge saves lives because back in the day everyone died so young — and while that’s true to a certain degree, we’ve extended our lives but become unhealthier altogether.
We may not be dying from infections that take out the entire town (before cleanliness was a thing), but we have an infinite number of health problems on a widespread scale that we never used to have.
Obviously, I’m not a doctor and will never claim to have medical knowledge, but what I will claim is that doctors aren’t learning half of what they should be learning in medical school.
They’re well-taught on how to diagnose a problem, but thanks to the drug reps that trot in and out of their offices all day long, they no longer cure a problem so much as manage it — and I’m absolutely not OK with that.
I’m not OK with the fact that Americans sit around feeding our kids crap, dousing our houses in chemical cleaners, covering our lawns in pesticides and weed killer while watching our kids play with lead-laden toys from unregulated countries, and then try to fix all the problems with an endless stream of prescriptions.
ADHD medication to treat an undiscovered food intolerance, antibiotics to wipe out the bad and good bacteria in our systems, and then allergy medication to treat inflammation caused by the antibiotics.
By fixing everything with medication, we aren’t giving our kids’ bodies anything they actually need; we’re simply doing damage control on functions that aren’t working correctly without taking time to figure out why those functions aren’t working in the first place.
If medical care really is getting better, then why is the health of our children getting worse?
I did a ton of research on the rise in common healthcare issues, unreported medication side effects, how food affects our bodies, environmental factors that are known to cause illnesses, what is being taught in medical school, and then I took the responsibility of my kids’ healthcare out of the doctor’s hands and brought it back into my home. Because if their bodies weren’t working right, I was going to start with the “before” instead of treating the “after.”
I stopped running to the doctor every time they got sick. I stopped looking for the quick fix and started looking for the long-term solution.
I then stocked my cabinets with items that our bodies need to work correctly and natural treatments for when their systems need assistance: everyday herbs, spices, and foods backed by science to have medicinal qualities; natural items that drug companies have tossed to the side in favor of expensive little pills.
But the biggest change I made was letting go of the stigma that doctors can fix everything. They can’t.
Today, my children are healthier than they’ve ever been. We eat a clean diet and I don’t allow plastic in my kitchen or chemical cleaners in my house. We use organic soaps and follow an altered vaccination schedule.
We treat what we can at home and if that doesn’t work, then I do the responsible thing and take them to a doctor; a doctor that’s willing to mix my beliefs and her medical knowledge to create a plan that assists my children’s bodies in taking care of themselves.
They say that if you give a man a fish, he eats for a day; if you teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime. Well, the same applies to our kids and their health.
If you give him medication, he will be healthy for today but if you teach his body how to medicate itself, he will be healthy for a lifetime.
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