Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Have a heart

This is a community service message delivered by ME to anyone who cares…

Years ago, someone I love suffered from slipped disc. I have no intention to explain the disease in detail because it is a boring subject, but I’ll give you some idea.

A slipped disc is when the soft part of the disc (cartilage, which made up the vertebrae in our spinal cord) swells through the circle of connective tissue. However, 20 per cent of the population have slipped disc without experiencing any noticeable symptoms.

So, the story of my beloved begins with pain at her knee. Each time she seeks doctor, the answer is always the same. You’re old, and the fluid that acts as lubricants may have running out. And each and every time, the doctor will give her an injection, to make the pain go away.

This has been going on for years until one day, my beloved paid a visit to a Chinese who practices traditional medicine. And without any help of x-ray or MRI machine or CT scan, but just to have a look at my beloved, the Chinese old man knew, the problem is not in the knee, but in the spinal cord.

Although now we know what cause the problem, we still can’t solve it. My beloved almost lost hope until yet another doctor suggests her to do an operation. Guess what! It not only has failed (due to infection), but it has made my beloved’s condition become worse.

And since then, my beloved has taken numerous medications. And none of them have any noticeable positive changes.

Hope. I guess my beloved’s hope to get well soon, has reversed impact. For a few months, we can see some changes. She got rounded face and increased fat around the neck. Purplish pink stretch marks can be seen on some part of her body. Her backaches even become more often. And what is weirder is that she had excess hair growth on her face!

Luckily, we got her into the hospital on time. Doctors said that she could be dead if it is too late. She suffered from Cushing’s syndrome where the patient’s body produce a high level of hormone cortisol. Our body won’t do that unless there is something wrong with hypothalamus (a part in our brain). So what cause this? Well, it is because of one of the pills prescribed by the doctor. No, the pills do not damaged my beloved’s brain, but it contains too much steroid. So, basically my beloved is overdose of steroid, which in turn increases the level of cortisol in her body.

If you are wondering why I am writing all about this, then I’ll tell you. Before that, please bear in mind that the doctors involve in this story is not one, or two, or three, but much more than that.

The message is if you are a patient, or your family member is ill, you need to be a little smarter. Seek second, or third (or fourth if you like) opinion before you make any decision. Your life is at stakes!

And if you are a doctor, or you plan to be one, please be responsible of whatever you do to your patient. Have a heart (not literally because we all know you do have one). Show an act of concern, not just thinking of how much profit you could make by scamming desperate people. It won't kill you to run a few test and think harder to figure out what is wrong with your patient.

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