I was at a dinner party recently where a gentleman was expressing an incredulous attitude about gluten intolerance. He stated that bread has been around for thousands of years and that people have been dealing with it just fine for all that time. He didn’t see how people could suddenly start having trouble digesting gluten. This simplistic attitude fails to take into account the facts that both our bread, through GMO wheat, pesticides and processing, is different now, and that our digestive systems, because of rampant use of antibiotics, are also different now. Regardless of the causes of gluten intolerance, it is not something that you can believe in or not. People have experiences of feeling ill when they eat foods that contain gluten. To disregard their experience and to tell them that what they feel is not valid, is inexcusably arrogant and rude. Sadly, that is exactly what happens too often in healthcare today. Symptoms that are not easily understandable, recognizable by modern diagnostic tools or treatable by the medications currently available, are disregarded, and worse yet, attributed to the patient’s own mental health weakness.
The Myth of Modern Diagnostics
Perhaps disregard and disbelief emanates from the notion that if a disease isn’t detectable and it isn’t treatable, then it doesn’t exist. When pain, a disease, physical or mental dysfunction of one sort or another, is felt intensely by the patient but its source is undetectable using the methods of modern medicine, it easier to deny that the problem exists than search for solutions. Rather than question the detection methods, the diagnostics, or say “I don’t know,” many doctors, family and friends deny that there is a problem at all. The mysterious, difficult to treat illnesses is attributed to a mental health flaw or personal weakness. It’s “all in their head,” is a common refrain; as if what is in your head is a choice or isn’t important.
It Gets Worse
For those of us with illness caused by a drug or vaccine, having our pain and suffering acknowledged is difficult at best. Our symptoms are typically invisible and mysterious, and when we tell people about the cause of our illness we are often treated with hostility. It is as if in telling our stories about how we were hurt by a pharmaceutical, we are trying to dismantle the entire modern medical system and get rid of the good with the bad. I have experienced this repeatedly since my adverse reaction and subsequent injury from Cipro. My experience is not uncommon. Read any of the patient stories of post-Gardasil, post-Lupron or post-fluoroquinolone injury – we all suffer, and we are often treated poorly.
When one speaks out against a travesty in the medical system, he or she is often accused of being a conspiracy theorist, anti-vaccine or anti-science, even though medication interactions, errors and adverse events are the 4th leading cause of death in the U.S. There are few shades of grey. One is either pro-medicine, science, vaccine or drug, or on the lunatic fringe. This characterization is unfair, as many victims of adverse reactions to prescription drugs or vaccines thoroughly believe in the efficacy of the Scientific Method, we just dislike being an experiment gone awry.
For those who have not been harmed by a medication or vaccine, it is difficult to imagine. How could a drug that is prescribed all the time, a drug that also does some good (or it wouldn’t be prescribed), have caused such harm? How could a drug or vaccine lead to such chronic pain or illness? It is difficult to conceive. It is difficult to reconcile. Egos get involved and shackles get raised. How dare a patient, a victim, a normal person, accuse a doctor, an expert, of doing harm? What doctors don’t recognize is that we are not meaning to accuse, we are seeking help, compassion and understanding.
When Did It Become Okay to Disregard Patient Pain and Suffering?
I suspect it happened during the debate over whether or not vaccines contribute to Autism. Somewhere during that debate, which is yet on-going, it became okay to tell people that it was impossible for drugs or vaccines to cause the horrifying plethora of side-effects that they do indeed cause. It became okay to believe, despite the long list of adverse effects that accompany each pharmaceutical, that medicines and vaccines where somehow entirely safe; that because they didn’t cause ill-effects in all patients, they couldn’t cause them in some.
It’s not okay.
Drug and Vaccine Side-Effects Happen
They are serious and they should not be ignored. Please have some compassion for the victims of adverse reactions to drugs and vaccines. Please listen to their stories and realize that they know their bodies and conditions better than anyone else. Please treat them with kindness, respect and love. They deserve no less. Most importantly, do the research necessary to find out how and why these adverse event occurred and then develop the appropriate solutions to heal these patients. Better yet, invest in safer, more personalized vaccines and medications that are only given to those who will benefit from them.
Information about Fluoroquinolone Toxicity
Information about the author, and adverse reactions to fluoroquinolone antibiotics (Cipro/ciprofloxacin, Levaquin/levofloxacin, Avelox/moxifloxacin and Floxin/ofloxacin) can be found on Lisa Bloomquist’s site, www.floxiehope.com.