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Home / Health  /
Consult Your Doctor ... Or Not
overweight doctor

Are guys like him the ideal people we should be consulting?

Disclaimer: None of the information revealed in this article is a substitute for advice from a licensed health care professional.  You should not use any of the information contained herein for the purpose of disparaging or ridiculing your trusted and devoted primary care provider … to his face.  Behind his back is another matter.

Nothing stated below has been evaluated by the FDA or its equivalent in any other nation.  For a huge sum sent to the right address, it would be.  You should not read this article with the intention of diagnosing, treating, curing or preventing any health condition or disease except ignorance.

If you experience disgust while reading this article, contact your medical health care provider immediately! Or a comedian.  They say laughter is the best medicine.   You may have better luck with the comedian. 

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In the hopes of improving the results I get out of meditation, I started regularly listening to a number of Hemi-Sync albums.  Hemi-Sync is short for hemispheric synchronization.  Robert Monroe, the brains behind the patented technology, maintained that Hemi-Sync synchronizes the left and right hemispheres of a person's brain.  Some of the professed benefits are better relaxation, learning, and, my objective, attaining altered states of consciousness.

There are no released numbers on how many people throughout the 40-year history of the product have ever bought a Hemi-Sync CD or digital album, but I could safely bet other peoples' fortunes that the combined totals of every single Hemi-Sync product ever sold wouldn't qualify the series for Recording Industry Association of America's Platinum status.

On the Hemi-Sync website, prospective buyers are advised to not listen to Hemi-Sync without first consulting their physicians.  I took this as an inside joke. The only physician I know who knows what Hemi-Sync is is my father.

Back in 2009, I embarked on my first Master Cleanse. It was for twenty-two days, followed by an eleven day raw diet. In case you've never heard of the Master Cleanse, and most laymen have not, it's a sugar cane juice/cayenne/lime juice mixture you drink as your sole means of daily sustenance interspersed with salt water flushes.  What's the shrewd thing to do before you start?  A juicing web site said it as well as any other: consult your doctor or health practitioner.

A probiotic is a supplement of live bacteria and yeasts.   Supposedly, they're good for helping cultivate the beneficial bacteria in your gut.  When your body is out of whack or you've been on antibiotics, there can be an imbalance of the beneficial and harmful bacteria in your system.  Do you need a probiotic?  Should you take one?  Should you combine the probiotic with a coffee enema?  Don't ask me.  Consult your doctor or health care professional.

Want to learn wing chun? Become a master chef?  Invest in a new business startup?  Convert to another religion? Get married for a second time? If you believe everything you read, it'd be prudent to consult your primary care provider first. 

Did you have any clue doctors/health care providers/physicians were so omniscient?

The ones I've met haven't been.  At the beginning of 2016, I had a major motorbike accident which required shoulder surgery. I had the operation performed and then followed up with ten months of physical therapy at what is considered the best hospital in Thailand. My physician father preferred the Thai doctor at this hospital because he had done a fellowship in orthopedic shoulder surgery at Harvard as well as other clinical training in Germany.  Visiting with this doctor a couple of weeks later, having just completed a cocktail of antibiotics I was less-than-thrilled to take, I inquired if he could prescribe me an appropriate probiotic from the hospital's pharmacy.

One problem. He had no idea what a probiotic was.

The doctor was happy to call up the hospital's pharmacy to see if it carried any. The hospital stocked only one, Bioflor. Figuring any was better than none, I asked him to write out the prescription.  I found out later Bioflor is for acute diarrhea, antibiotic associated diarrhea, depression, and inflammatory bowel disease.  None can be better than one.

A couple of months later, once I'd commenced therapy and felt a little stronger, I asked the doctor if I could embark on another Master Cleanse.  He had no idea what that was either.  I hadn't expected him to.  What I really wanted to know was if putting my body on a 500 calorie/day restrictive diet for three weeks could possibly inhibit bone healing.   He shrugged.  Hell if he knew.

My doctor was no idiot. Nor are all the other doctors working at all the other crème-de-la-crème hospitals in Thailand.  Thailand has promoted itself successfully as a medical tourism destination.  The hospital behind my surgery is huge in the Middle Eastern market. Its lobbies and waiting rooms are always thronged with women wearing Islamic Hijab long scarf shawl wraps and men in galabeyas. To attract this affluent international clientele from the Islamic West Asian market, the hospital loves recruiting doctors who've done all or at least part of their training in a respected Western country.  The other elite hospitals in Thailand recruit the same way.  By that measure, my doctor was as much of or as less of an idiot as any Western trained physician.

As a kid I went to visit my pediatrician whenever my mother said it was time to get a checkup. The pediatricians never had much to report, but whatever they said, I believed.  I started to have my first doubts about MD omniscience when I was ten. I was taken to see what would be known as an allergist today. More generalist doctors assumed those duties back then. I don't remember why my mom was inclined to have me visit an allergist, as I didn't seem to be suffering from any strong allergies. Drops of different allergens were dripped onto my skin. The drops which expanded in 10-20 minutes were the allergens I was supposed to be negatively reacting to.  I've since looked up these allergy skin tests, and they say the surface of the skin is pricked with the allergen, and the extent of the allergy determined by how red the skin gets. As I recollect it, there was no redness or getting pricked, just me bursting into tears when the doctor announced I was allergic to beef, chocolate, chicken, and pretty much anything else a ten-year old boy would love. My mother started packing me turkey dogs to eat instead of hot dogs at camp picnics.  I don't know how long this diligence to my "allergies" lasted, but probably within 3 months I was back to eating the same old foods, with no ill adverse effects.

As I got older, I observed that most doctors most of the time were poor diagnosticians. If you had very clear and definable symptoms, it was easy for them to determine what you had and to write you a prescription for whatever was then in fashion to get rid of it.  A lot of procedures were just done by rote.  When I was 5 or 6 I had my tonsils taken out. Why?  Because that's what doctors told you to do at 5 or 6 in the 1970's -- and your parents promised you a Mickey Mouse watch as a gift after the procedure so you'd look forward to it. At 19, I had all my wisdom teeth pulled? Why?  Because that's what doctors of dental surgery told you to do when you were 19 in the late 1980's.

If you have a more unusual issue, the average doctor you're likely to see in the limited time you can see him won't know what to do with you.  My brother suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2000. He consulted the doctors.  Nearly all could find nothing wrong with him, not that they were looking all that hard.  My wife often comes down with one ill or another that we cannot explain or self-diagnose on the internet. She's had it ingrained into her from childhood to consult a doctor for any and every little ailment.  Here in Thailand - and probably everywhere else where modern medicine is practiced - the doctor will prescribe you a generic antibiotic. Your 'ill' could be a fear of public speaking.  You'd still get an antibiotic.  In Thailand, they'll go one step further.  When we were living in Hua Hin, my (future) wife was feeling under the weather and couldn't figure out why.  We took a trip up the street to San Paolo Hospital.  Before she'd even seen a doctor, the hospital insisted on admitting her to do "further testing."  It was a complete waste of time and money.   They sent nurses into her room every few hours to take blood samples, but never found out what was wrong with her or even probably attempted to.

This was not an isolated incident.  Just two years ago at a much higher quality hospital in Bangkok, one of the crème da la crème in the entire nation, she went to see another doctor about another undiagnosed issue. He, too, tried to admit her.  Upselling is paramount over here at the for-profit hospitals. When we refused, he then asked, "Well, don't you want me to prescribe you any medicine?" like it was expected of him.

Because no typically frustrated patient is used to leaving a doctor's office without "treatment," despite the doctor not figuring out what he's treating at all. According to the Mayo Clinic, 70% of Americans take one prescription drug, and more than 50% take two.  In 2013, Americans spent about $1,000/person on average for prescription drugs. Big pharmaceutical companies expend more dough on marketing than research, and 85% of that marketing budget is devoted to doctors, who profit financially when prescribing (or, from the pharmaceutical companies' perspective, selling) those drugs on to patients. 

Sadly, that's what the state of New Millennia medicine has become.  The omniscient geniuses we're regularly advised to consult before starting Chinese lessons or sampling a new Greek restaurant are, in a great many cases, overworked can't-be-troubled "problem-solving" pill-pushers.

And they're in lousy shape, too. About six out of every ten doctors and nurses in the USA qualify as overweight or obese.  Those stats put docs on par with the general population. No big deal, right?  On the other hand, these are the so-called omniscient wunderkinds we're supposed to be consulting before we make any major decision. You wouldn't hire a money manager to manage your investments if he made less of a return than you could yourself. By that logic, shouldn't you think twice about having a doctor manage your health if he's not living a lifestyle equal to or healthier than your own?

In a Harris poll from 2006, 85% of the people said they trusted a doctor above any other profession. But a review of history doesn't show doctors being more healthily enlightened than the public they serve. Beginning in 1933 and for two decades thereafter, the Journal of the American Medical Association published cigarette advertisements.  The tobacco companies later enlisted the very docs reading the mag to sell the cancer sticks to the public.  Camel ran a campaign for almost a decade, inside and outside the medical journals, with the catchphrase "More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette." There is no question now that big tobacco companies suppressed scientific evidence linking cigarette smoking to lung and heart disease, but was scientific proof published in hypocritical journals ever really required? The extent of how harmful smoking was had yet to be widely documented circa 1950.  Still, you have to balk at how any learned person devoting himself to the profession of healing could ever believe that inhaling smoke and other chemicals could be beneficial for one's health and then go on to assist the purveyors in promoting the offending substance to the public.

This wasn't the last time a medical body sold out the public's interest. In 2009, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) announced a partnership with the Coca Cola Company.  AAFP received a grant in exchange for educating "consumers about the role [Coca Cola] products can play in a healthy, active lifestyle."  This makes you wonder how much of the other stuff doctors are shilling today besides Fanta Orange should, with widely documented knowledge known in the present, be discounted once common sense kicks in?

I don't mean to discredit all doctors as chubby corporate sales reps, though I don't think I'd be stretching the truth to say that roughly 2 out of 3 doctors presently engaged in a patients' practice probably fit that description. But I don't believe with the way modern medicine is practiced that we should bestow on doctors the blind respect the majority of them have proven they don't deserve.  As an organization, they haven't proven they put health above big business profits; and as individuals, they aren't exemplars of health and healthy living.

The modern doctor gives general health advice that he doesn't follow himself, thereby discrediting the message. No one is going to argue that eating healthy foods or exercise is bad for one's health, but if you hear that message from your portly doctor, rehabilitating himself from a recent heart attack on babyback ribs, fries, and a Coca Cola beverage, how seriously are you going to take it?    Moreover, the bulk of conventionally trained doctors remain blindly skeptical or ignorant of any regimen that doesn't have peer-reviewed "proof" to back it up.  Doctors should at least have an open mind to investigate unheard of protocols, to see if they offer any hope of healing before discarding them as a joke. Without their willingness to view healing as one big landscape with most of it as yet undiscovered, how can we as patients consult our doctor about unestablished modalities and expect to have a discussion with them that doesn't border on derision?

We call a doctor with the proper credentials and questionable skills a hack; a doctor with questionable credentials and lousy skills, a quack. What do we call a doctor with legitimate credentials, little in the way of bedside manner, too busy in a corporatized system to offer the patient the most optimal healing?

Consult your doctor and ask him yourself.

If you liked reading this, consider:
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 The Complete Article Index