….WELcome…(coooome, come come)…to the BIG SHOW (shooow show show) you’ve all been waiting for(foorrr for for)!….
In this corner we have Prana… weighing in at just 1.5 lbs! She’s white! She’s fluffy! She likes to pounce! Let’s hear it for Prana… (the crowd goes wild…!!!!)
And in THIS corner… weighing in at just 1900 milligrams… They’re white! They’re encapsulated! They come in powder form! Let’s hear it for Pharmaceuticals! (crowd cheers! YEAHHHH!!!)
Begin when you hear the bell! No punches below the belt!
** I’m just throwing this out there. Take it as you will.*****
We live in a society where drugs are served to us as our only option for sickness. Feeling sad? Here’s a pill. Can’t concentrate? Here’s a pill. Too fat? Here’s a pill. And then, when these drugs, which are created without taking into consideration the uniqueness of each of our bodies, cause an array of side effects, we are given more drugs to combat the side effects. It’s a cycle of treating symptoms, rather than the root cause of the pain or dysfunction. And it can spin out of control very fast.
I am not now, nor have I ever advocated that drugs have no place in our medicine practice. They do. I’ll be the first to admit that drugs are a necessity when it comes to managing acute pain, or chronic symptoms that make day to day living otherwise impossible. They help the dying live more manageable lives. They can be a huge asset or save lives in the realm of mental health. But laid out on a table next to all of the world’s medicine, they are a one dimensional solution to a multi-dimensional problem. If the brain’s web of complex neural pathways are like synchronized swimmers, drugs are like a sergeant who commands them to do things as he sees fit; shouting orders to work a certain way. “More dopamine!” he shouts. “Blood pressure, DOWN!” he yells. “ATTENNNNTION!” And our delicate brains fall in line by force. There is nothing nuanced, gentle or holistic about pharmaceuticals.
A person who has a brain injury has a team of swimmers that aren’t quite as synchronized as they once were. As caretaker to Patrick, I have watched one doctor after another suggest, and at times push us to put him on various drugs to treat problems. They do this very easily, without the slightest hesitation, and without offering any other suggestions. When we ask what is causing the issues, they often get annoyed at our “wild goose chase” or our attempt to “play doctor”… (I.E, ya know, be informed and educated about what we are putting into his body). So we thank them, and then we go our own way, and do our own research, because for us, drugs are used on an “need-only” basis.
There are some meds that brain injury survivors absolutely must take. Seizure meds are one of them, if they have seizures. Patrick has never had a seizure properly diagnosed. Yet he is still taking 1500 mg or Kepra, and 400 of Lamictal. When I told his neurologist that they were negatively impacting Patrick’s cognition, she sort of shrugged. Then she suggested we have him take Adderall for focus. Thanks, but no thanks. How is it solving a problem if you create a new set of problems with your solution?
What really sticks in my craw is that there has been very little research done to test the effects of these medications on an injured brain and its ability to heal while on these medications. When Patrick came into my care, he was on Kepra, Lamictal, Trazedone, Coumadin, Welbutrin, Lithium, and Amantadine. Doctors continued to prescribe more and more pills, and nobody batted an eye at the LARGE cocktail of meds, particularly psyche meds that he was on, or question how they could be tampering with the healing process.
On the other side of medicine, there are many alternative therapies available to brain injury survivors. Doctors will likely tell you that these are a waste of time and money, but that again is because they fail to recognize that what works for one person, may not work for another. Prana is a grand example of an alternative therapy that is available. She has been with us only a week, and has drastically changed the energy in our home. I believe she is helping Patrick heal much faster. I have already seen changes in him.
Patrick had been suffering from outbursts of rage, and exhibiting symptoms of PTSD for many months. We told his psychiatrist about this, and she told us that A) he should stay on mood stabilizers for the rest of us his life, and B) he should take another med to deal with the rage. Patrick did not want to take another med that would “mellow him out”, and neither did I. His doctor certainly didn’t recommend “animal therapy” to us. And yet, here we are, a week into trying it out, and Patrick’s rage issue is totally solved. She is affectionate, calming, loving, entertaining, playful, and brings him peace. He doesn’t fly off the handle with her around. He is calmer and his PTSD symptoms are very much quieted. I was told that his rage was likely never going to go away, and poof, it’s gone. This wouldn’t work for everyone, but again, that is the whole point. Not every alternative therapy will work for everyone, but that is certainly also true for drugs. And these alternative therapies don’t carry the dangerous side effects and habitual nature that many drugs do.
The point I’m trying to make is that we need to broaden the way we think about medicine, and the ways in which we heal, especially when it comes to Traumatic Brain Injury.
For us anyway, when you put Prana and Big Pharma in the ring together.. Prana wins. No contest.