Avoiding Medicine: Insane or Rational?   Leave a comment

At the very outset let me make it clear that this post is not about not seeking medical care, not taking medicine to treat serious medical/health conditions or avoiding antibiotics during a bacterial infection (just no antibiotics during a viral infection).

The context is the fact that I am sitting here right now covered with hives everywhere except my face and back. My chest is the worst, and the sensation is setting my mind totally on edge. It is taking all of my mental skills to stay calm and maintain some semblance of relaxation right now. On the way home from Mass I saw a grocery store and the thought ran though my head, “Do I want to see if they have anything that would soothe my skin?” The answer was a very clear “no” and instead I came home to work through the arsenal of cold water, oatmeal, aloe, honey, and baking soda to see if any of them work on my chest. I just have no desire to take¬†something. For the most part mental tricks are working really well and the only part of my body that actually itches is my chest where I have hives upon hives.

This aversion to medicine has very early roots. Like single-digit age roots. As a kid I couldn’t understand pain killers. “If you take an aspirin or other pain killer, how does the medicine know where you feel pain and dull those nerves without dulling ALL of your nerves?” I wondered. Since no one ever answered me, I grew more and more leery of pain killers and eventually started avoiding them. (This may have been the only instance where my apparently all-knowing dad “failed” me.) As a teenager I got interested in complementary medicine, but I don’t really see the difference between taking an aspirin and drinking a decoction of willow bark (it’s even the same chemical). Prevention, mental state, rest, hydration, diet, etc. seemed to me as a teenager to be a much more effective path. In college I realized that my acne medication was doing nothing whatsoever, and neither was the Pepto-Bismol that was my last remaining convention medicine. Since then, I have hardly “taken” anything, and generally speaking don’t want to. I use treatments like honey and lavender for a sore throat, acupressure for cramps, and essential oils on a tissue for congestion; and I trust my body.

Occasionally, like now with these hives, I wonder if there’s something wrong with me that I have no desire to use medication. Sure it would be more convenient to pop a pill rather than leave work and take a nap when I have cramps, or take something for hives instead of resting with a poultice on my chest to ease the itching. But I trust my body to be healthy. I know it can take care of itself if I do my part, and that any discomfort will pass. Obviously, based on the contents of the drug aisles in a grocery store or drug store, most people feel differently from me and probably understand my perspective about as little as I understand theirs.

What will happen in the future when I’m a mother? I don’t know. I’ve been told that I’ll give up my silly ways and fall back into the conventional western medical practices, but I’m a bit skeptical. This is not just a fad, but a way of thinking and being that has been ME since childhood. State-of-mind treatments may not work for young children, but surely there’s a safe and healthy middle ground.



Posted August 7, 2011 by mayakey in health, musings

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