I learned something. I learned that starting around 3am, most satellite/cable channels drop like flies, one by one, switching over to bottom-feeding Paid Programming. TBS does not do this; in fact, they air nostalgic “Married With Children” episodes back-to-back until at least 6am. I don’t know what they do after 6am because that’s when I finally dropped off to sleep this morning.
I have not been that nocturnally wired since around April.
I felt it coming on, the old familiar insomniac pattern. Hours clicked by, starting at midnight, then 1am, and so on. I waited for it to set in, that comfortable the-edge-has-been-taken-off peace that normal people are supposed to feel at the end of the day, but it never did. Much like the infamous Energizer Bunny, I kept going and going and going.
I searched my soul for the reason. I narrowed it down. It didn’t take long.
I didn’t exactly want to write about this, because I didn’t want to excessively dwell on this or cultivate any negative energy or karma, but I’ve been stuck in a mental rut over this, unable to shake it and get on with life. Maybe getting it out in the open will let me completely process what happened, once and for all.
It had to do with an email I received that day from a patient. The patient was dropping out of care. This patient was not the first to do so, but it the manner in which they did so came completely out of the blue…or even indigo.
To be able to fully appreciate the situation, it’s probably best that I start at the beginning. Patient presents with pain in both feet almost consistent with diabetes. Being in both feet but nowhere else, the problem is almost assuredly metabolic in nature, which is exactly what I’ve been educated and trained to deal with. Patient also states that they are vegan, which means they don’t consume any animal products at all. As I conveyed my sensitivity and support of dietary causes (before I did further research and learned better) since I had been vegetarian myself, the patient quickly added that “health came first” and that they’d be willing to consider adding animal products back into their diet if necessary.
Great!, I thought. An open-minded vegan. That’s kind of rare, to tell you the truth. And that’s coming from firsthand experience as a (former) vegetarian with plenty of long-term vegetarian and vegan friends.
As you can see, we’re off to a great start.
A visit or two later, we’ve progressed happily to the point where it’s time to talk about adopting a diet that’s compatible with the patient’s needs. Since I hadn’t yet attempted to create a vegan version of these dietary changes, and the patient had previously stated that they’d consider adding certain animal products back in, I knew that the more animal products they’d consider, the easier my job would be at devising such a plan.
So, I asked the patient about several different foods. In previous visits, they mentioned their system never tolerated certain animal foods well, but could tolerate others, so I asked the patient about several different animal food sources, hoping to generate a list that day that I could then refer to when creating the plan.
Well, suddenly they weren’t sure, they’d have to talk with their significant other, who does the cooking. That was perfectly fine; I mentioned a few times throughout the visit that the patient could just email me within the next day or two after they had a chance to talk to the significant other.
I waited a week. Not a peep.
So, I sent a very benign, friendly, non-nagging email simply to follow up on the previous visit, and I listed the various animal food sources that were least likely to cause any unpleasant symptoms or allergic/hypersensitivity reactions.
I couple days later, I received a reply.
“We are vegan. We do not eat any animal products at all. If this is too complicated for you, please don’t do it.”
I so wanted to fire back a long, indignant response, but though some act of the Goddess, I kept myself in check. Yes, I sent a reply. Yes, it was way too gentle. Yes, my ego got bruised. I was totally not expecting this. (If one has to ask why, they need only re-read the preceding information above.)
So, in my semi-anonymity (Facebook privacy settings are locked down hard, and this blog’s ranking on Google is non-existent, so there’s virtually no way they’ll actually find this and even if they did, I’m not sure they’d be able to verify it’s them), I’ll fire off my haughty retort here.
First of all. I know they’re vegan. They’ve made that plain as day on several occasions. I’ve even acknowledged as such, bending over backwards to be respectful and neutrally informative, spending hours researching ways we can work with their current diet and minimizing any changes they’d have to make. (Which, by the way, in the beginning they responded with something along the lines of, “it’s OK; health comes first”, which basically told me that they weren’t all that hardcore.) The point is, I knew they were vegan. And yes, I even know what that means! No animals, got it! I’m capable of consulting a dictionary, too. Yay me!
Next order of business. My “inability” to devise a physiologically-correct diet plan has absolutely less than zero to do with it being “too complicated for me”. It’s not a matter of being “complicated”, nor is it a matter of the level of incompetence they implied I had.
It is, however, a matter of it being impossible. Yep, that’s right. As politically correct as veganism is, as noble a cause as it may be, and as badly as we all want to Save the Whales, the cold hard truth is that something must die so that you may live. It’s called the circle of life, and that is a law of nature. Nothing can change the fact that all of us are obligate omnivores, and no amount of Googling can match my education and the research analysis I’ve done over the past 8+ years.
What chaps my ass is that they implied that I failed them, when in fact, they failed themselves. As convinced as they are that veganism is the right way to go, I have lab test results that prove waaay otherwise. Their blood chemistry is a train-wreck. This means that obviously, their current path is not congruent with good health.
That is not my fault. I can’t turn water into wine or bend the laws of physiology for people; I can only present the information I’ve spent a great deal of time, money, energy, and even my own health, to obtain and assimilate. This might sound a little like I’m playing martyr, but I feel like I bent over backwards and that was the thanks I got.
But see, I know something they don’t: they are not going to get any better. Without animal products, you get nerve damage. This is a proven fact. Without animal products, you simply cannot meet your minimum protein requirements without overloading on carbohydrates.
Don’t believe me? Just crunch the numbers. They don’t add up. Make sure to get your numbers from someone other than the USDA, though, who basically sells space on the USDA Food Pyramid like ad space on NASCARs; the more money you spend lobbying, the bigger a space you get. (The grain industry is powerful indeed, because it gets the biggest space, making up the base of the pyramid. Lop the bottom off, remove the dairy section, and you’re much closer to the correct pyramid that the human body was designed for.)
So unfortunately, it might be several years before they end up back in my office, because their problems will only continue and progress, and no one else will be able to help them. They might be able to get help from a nutritionist, but they can’t order or interpret lab work, and those who legally can usually won’t take the time to do it properly.
You can only lead a horse to water. As much as I would’ve liked to, I couldn’t shove their faces in it.
Now I know why most people who practice the way I do won’t even take on vegan patients until they’re ready to start eating some meat. It’s for their own good.
Want to be vegan? Come back as a cow or a rabbit in your next lifetime. Until then, don’t waste your money or your doctor’s time. It doesn’t get you anywhere and it only frustrates your doctor.
And lastly, for the love of Goddess, don’t insult your doctor when it is you who will not change. Your doctor is not incompetent for not being capable of bending the laws of nature and reality; you are unreasonable for getting pissy at them for merely serving as messengers of the truth.