I’m Not a Doctor, but Take My Advice

So, I was in Magical Journey picking up supplies for the trip on Saturday (though I ended up having much better luck at Wild Oats, as usual) and I was looking at the incense and listening to a conversation.

A woman asks, “Do you know anything about herbs?”

The girl behind the counter says, “Not really.”

The woman says, “Well, I’m trying to decide what I should take for my lupus.”

And the girl wisely says, “Well, what kind of medication does your doctor have you on?”

And the woman says, “Oh, I hate taking medicine.  I’m not taking any.  I’d much rather take herbs.  What do you think I should take?”

The girl behind the counter, “I don’t know.  But you should be careful.”

Now, America, it’s your body; do what you want.  But listen to the girl behind the counter!  Don’t ask a stranger untrained in medicine or herbal remedies for that matter her advice on what you should take to subdue your lupus.  She doesn’t know better than your doctor.

And “natural” herbs can be just as dangerous or more so than medicine.

Good-ness, people.

It’d be like if I wandered up to someone and said, “I see you work at a Dairy Queen.  Will sticking bleu cheese up my nose harm me?”

Okay, maybe not quite just like that.  But you get what I’m saying.

14 thoughts on “I’m Not a Doctor, but Take My Advice

  1. I always want to post & I never have. I have nothing relevant to say on the post itself…but as there weren’t other comments and the spirit moved within me it seemed appropriate to thank you for an interesting blog that makes the top three list of distraction favorites when I am dying in terrible law school tedium. Plus, your abortion claims made legit debate evidence…always grounds for love in my world.

  2. Aw, Georgia. Thanks. I wonder if I can put that on my resume? “Helps alleviate law school tedium.”

    Chris Wage, hurray! Your post scares me; it just reminds me how hopelessly lost people feel about their own health and what’s going on with their health care.

    Maybe you could take up side work as a healthcare advocate where you would call and yell at people’s doctors for them?

  3. “yell at people’s doctors for them?” – I totally want that job.

    Some herbs can reduce the effectiveness of certain medicines, too. For example, there are reports of St. Johns Wort reducing the effectiveness of oral contraceptives, although I haven’t read up on that one.

    People should be aware that taking random advice from the Internet (whether it’s a Google search or something like YahooAnswers) is just as questionable. You need to be able to evaluate whether what you’re looking at is a reliable source.

  4. All true, all true. But what does it say, honestly, about modern medical care when people are more comfortable seeking the advice of a store clerk over that of a physician?

  5. I agree with Katherine.. That’s part of what was frustrating to me. I was amazed at these people soliciting me (some dude with a blog) for advice, but also really frustrated that they had managed to get results with no explanation. And this is not like a routine test that you just go and have.. It’s a more esoteric white bloodcell count. How the hell did they manage to get this test and the results with *no* explanation? Further, why would they think this is normal? Like, “oh, I have an elevated T-cell count! time to google it and seek treatment on the blogs!”

  6. Agreed. Although it would be nice if all docs would explain these things up front, patients need to question, question, question!

  7. Pingback: Wise Women: If We Could Hear Our Mothers Pray « Just Another Pretty Farce

  8. I recommend the following formula for determining the length of questions/discussion with personal physicians; a passive-aggressive confession: For every minute that I sit in a waiting room beyond my designated appointment time, I make sure that I get 30 seconds of conversation with my doctor (‘sounds fair to me)… generally that amounts to about 20 minutes of discussion. Use that time in the waiting room to outline your questions instead of elevating your blood presure over the minutes of exposure to whatever airborne illnesses are floating around the waiting area.

    And for Pete’s sake stay away from the Internet for personal medical diagnosis/treatment…unless you are planning a career as a hypochondriac!

  9. I have three (ooops. now two) doctors in the family. They’re my uncles. I kind of don’t like approaching them with “it burns when I pee” or “I have strange discharge” type of question.

    Although I did appreciate them monopolising all family holiday dinners with tales of death and dismemberment.

  10. haha Katherine that would be soooo true. I was thinking more of the my kid is complaining his ears hurt and he has a cold… Can you call in a prescription for me and save me a $50 doctor’s visit kinda call. I guess I really only discuss other people’s medical problems with him haha.

  11. Oh, Katherine, I love your post. I hope people click through and read it. I do think this is good evidence of just how alienated people feel from the whole medical world and I think you’re right, that they want some sense of nurturing and healing on a level of more than just a strictly physical sense.

  12. Well, thank you, B. ;-p

    If only they hadn’t hanged, burned or ostracised all of the Wise Women…
    sigh.

    And Jim, I saw my uncle right up until the time that my medical complaints moved from the head region (sore throat, earache) to the nether region (cramps).

    It is now my policy to discuss matters of health below the diaphragm with strangers only. ;-p

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