By Nurse Mark
Dr. Myatt has been practicing medicine for over 25 years now, and I’ve been a Nurse for over 30 years – that’s a lot of time – 55 years of medicine!
And between us we’ve seen tens of thousands of patients; all shapes and sizes, all kinds of problems, all kinds of outcomes. Every one is different, yet there are similarities amongst patients too. There are patients who will get well, and patients who won’t – and we can almost always know which kind they are very soon after meeting them.
Here are some of the patients who aren’t going to get well – see if you know anyone among them:
1.) There’s Penny, as in “”penny wise, pound foolish.”
Penny shops carefully. She clips coupons and looks for bargains wherever possible. “A nickel here, a nickel there; it all adds up!” is her mantra.
Dr. Myatt recommended a supplement and Penny made it her mission to find a better price: a couple of bucks a bottle was saved and Penny was well-pleased with herself.
But now there’s a problem. The product isn’t working for Penny like Dr. Myatt felt it would.
Maybe Dr. Myatt was wrong? Possible, but not likely!
Dr. Myatt recommended a specific brand for a specific reason. She has found through experience that quality is “all over the map” in the supplement industry. (This is well-known and has been written about a lot – by us and others). So Dr. Myatt carefully researches every brand and product she recommends.
The bargain brand that isn’t working might not be in an absorbable form, might be lower in potency than the label states, might contain contaminants or might not even really be the same product. That happens a lot. One thing is for sure: though it was several dollars cheaper than what Dr. Myatt recommended, it’s more expensive in the end if it doesn’t work.
As we say in our office, “The most expensive supplement is the one that doesn’t work.”
2.) Jerry – the little 8 year old girl who stamps her foot and says “you can’t make me.”
Jerry is a smart woman. She “listens to her body.” She uses her “common sense.” She’s highly educated. She knows what she knows and she knows it’s right because, well, she knows.
She listens carefully to Dr. Myatt’s advice. And she compares it with what she “knows.” And if what Dr. Myatt tells her doesn’t agree with what she “knows” there is going to be a problem!
A low carb diet? No can do! I’m on the road a lot, eating in restaurants – it’s impossible!
Exercise? What – on my hectic schedule? Besides, walking is tough with my bad knees…
In bed and asleep by 10:00 PM? Are you crazy? It’s just not possible – I’m a night person!
And on and on it goes…
And besides she just “knows” it isn’t any of those things – it’s got to be something rare, esoteric, something that she has no control over, something that someone else needs to fix for her. Because if she could fix it herself she would have – don’tcha know!
3.) Cathy – the “tell me the same thing every year and I still won’t do it” gal.
Cathy faithfully follows up every year with Dr. Myatt. She knows that her health is important and that Dr. Myatt’s advice can help her achieve her health goals.
She listens carefully to Dr. Myatt’s and looks forward to receiving Dr. Myatt’s recommendations – which she promptly files and forgets, until next year.
“How’s the diet going?” Dr. Myatt will ask. “Well, I really haven’t been following it…” will be the answer.
“And the exercises we agreed you would do?” “Um, well, I’ve been really busy, and the gym is so expensive, and the weather has been bad, and…”
And those supplements Dr. Myatt recommended? “Well, I started taking them, but they didn’t seem to do much, and then I ran out and forgot to order more, and…”
But Cathy says she’ll certainly do better this year, since her complaints are getting worse…
And Dr. Myatt already knows what she’ll hear next year – more of the same.
4.) Kevin – says “I’m eating vegetarian” (or whatever); a lousy diet that he fools himself into thinking is good for him (and all humanity).
“Eating vegetarian” (or more severely, Vegan) isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
After all, it works fine for many animals – cows, horses, deer, rabbits, panda bears – even the great apes subsist just fine on a diet of mostly fruit and leaves. In fact, a carnivorous diet is foreign and even harmful to those animals. Witness the experimental rabbits that were fed high amounts of cholesterol and developed blocked arteries.
But (there’s always a “but” isn’t there?) you’ll note that these animals spend almost all of their waking hours eating. They have to, in order to get the amounts of fats and protein that is required to grow and to maintain health.
There’s another problem here too, in addition to the possibility of protein, fat, and micronutrient deficiency that poorly planned vegetarian / vegan diets pose.
You see, we all like convenience, and the food industry knows that. They are perfectly happy to provide “Vegan-friendly” convenience foods that are just chock-full of chemicals, food coloring, preservatives, and who knows what else, and just as stripped of nutrients as any non-vegetarian convenience food…
So, when you are planning that vegetarian / vegan diet, remember that humans require certain minimum amounts of protein to maintain and build muscle. You do know that the heart is a muscle, right?
And humans require significant amounts of fats to make hormones, and cholesterol for nerve and brain function (you did know that all your nerves are insulated with that, right?) and for cellular health.
You did know that a major portion of the walls of every cell in your body is made of cholesterol, right?
Fats and protein are essential nutrients. Carbohydrate is NOT an essential nutrient – even the US government agrees with us on that. And junk food, no matter how “Vegan-friendly” is still just junk food.
Other popular “diets” come with similar risks of malnutrition – the low salt diets, the low fat diets, the various juicing regimens – all need to be very carefully planned and followed or they can be just another “junk food diet.”
Personally, I figure that my ancestors clawed their way to the top of the food chain by eating animals that graze – I’m not going to mess with success.
5.) Janice – “I’m handling my stress OK.”
Janice is a “Very Important Person.” She is busy all the time – places to go, people to see, things to do.
Her kids are a handful, her ageing parents are a worry, her husband is long gone.
But she is doing OK – she’s handling it.
Except for the adrenal fatigue, thyroid problems, overweight, metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, insomnia, and GERD that is…
“Isn’t there just some herb or vitamin pill I can take?” she asks – because she is far too busy for much more than that.
Change her diet? Impossible – she eats at restaurants a lot, and it’s just too hard to get healthy food…
Asleep by 10:00 PM? Not a chance – there’s work to be done, and that is the only time she has without interruptions…
Take some time to exercise, meditate, relax? What part of “I’m a very busy person” don’t you understand, doctor?
Cut back on the coffee and drink more water? Oh, c’mon – isn’t there a pill for that?
And on it goes…
Janice probably won’t do much of anything about her health until it fails her in some catastrophic way.
When the Board of Directors decides they cannot continue to have someone with her health problems as a chief executive or when it all comes apart and Mother Nature says “enough” with frightening finality, then Janice might make some healthy changes – or not.
Until then, she’ll be content to grudgingly spare an hour every few weeks to complain to Dr. Myatt about how busy and stressed she is and how hard it is to follow Dr. Myatt’s recommendations. But she’s “handling it OK” don’t you know…
6.) George – “just keep writing me prescriptions.”
George wants Dr. Myatt to continue writing his prescriptions without the benefit of a consult. He thinks Dr. Myatt only wants that consult for the money, but he is wrong.
George has the idea that because he was a patient 12 months ago, Dr. Myatt should continue to renew his prescriptions as a freebie without re-evaluating his circumstance (or she should give him a free re-evaluation) because of his history with her. After all, he feels good and nothing seems to have changed for quite some time.
Never mind the sore knees, “that’s normal with aging.”
The lack of libido? “What do you expect at my age?” he says.
And he bruises easily? “Well, I am getting older…”
When Dr. Myatt expresses surprise that this is the first she has heard of those things, George will claim he didn’t feel it was worth spending the money for an appointment to discuss it.
Besides, he’s sure that Dr. Myatt will want him to do another one of those expensive tests again – and after all, how much could have changed? “So just renew the prescription already, OK doc?”
Unfortunately, George could be doing so much better – with strong bones and joints, strong libido, and strong skin – if he were to optimize things on a regular basis instead of letting it slide until his health goes to heck in a handbasket.
But that would require an appointment and possibly new testing, so he’ll just muddle along. Surely someone will renew his old prescription without all that fuss and bother…
7.) Heather the Hypochondriac: Every tingle is a serious neurological disease, every palpitation is a heart attack.
Heather called us the other day. She was gardening, and stood up and almost fainted.
So she called 911 and was taken to the E.R. where they did A.T.K.T.M. (a fancy medical acronym for All Tests Known To Medicine – a panel of tests done by nervous E.R. doctors when there is nothing obvious wrong and they have to cover their ass-etts by showing that they’ve left no stone unturned).
They really didn’t find anything, but Heather came home with copies of all the tests for her collection.
Her BP was two points above normal. Her EKG showed a missed beat and a heart rate slightly faster than average. Her hemoglobin was above normal and the chemistry screen showed a high potassium!
So now she is certain that she has hypertension and needs a blood pressure pill.
And that skipped beat – shouldn’t that be investigated further?
With that high heart rate surely she is at risk – could she use up all her heartbeats too soon?
And the high hemoglobin – she’s read about these things - don’t people with blood cancer get too much hemoglobin?
And high potassium – isn’t that dangerous?
Oh, and by the way – she keeps having muscle twitches and leg cramps – isn’t that a symptom of neurological disease and shouldn’t that be investigated?
No matter that there are perfectly sound explanations (and corrections) for all those things – dizziness from hypovolemia (low blood volume), hypovolemia from too little water intake, slightly elevated BP and pulse from hypovolemia and the excitement of being in the E.R., high hemoglobin because the blood is concentrated, high potassium from damage to red blood cells during the blood draw (very common!), and on and on…
The muscle twitches and cramps? A simple magnesium deficiency…
But all those explanations are too easy for Heather, who will feel compelled to continue her quest for a “real” (read that as “serious”) diagnosis.
8.) Bill - “Mr. organ recital.” He wouldn’t give up his diagnosis (if he actually has one) even if he could.
Constantly being sick, and telling everyone about it, is his claim to fame and Bill has a lot of company.
Frank has “his diabetes” – and let’s the world know about it, loudly proclaiming to all within earshot about his dietary restrictions and how this terrible disease impacts his life.
Frank uses insulin, and doesn’t mind (maybe even enjoys) the ritual of testing his blood sugar, calculating his insulin dose, and injecting himself with it – at the meal table, in restaurants!
Everybody is clear — really really clear— on how awful life is for Frank with “his” diabetes.
The problem is, diabetes type II is completely curable with diet changes. But then what disease would be the center of Frank’s “organ recital”?
Maude – with the bad knees – was told by the doctor that her knee joints are “bone-on-bone” and she lets everyone know how this makes it impossible to do the things she would like to do – like tennis, or golf, or even walking. She recently got one of those electric scooters because it was getting to be so hard to get around. (And it gets her special parking spots and all kinds of other “special treatment”!)
Of course Maude is “a few pounds” over weight: She actually exceeds the GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) for her knees by about 100 pounds. But she’s always been “big” you know, and it’s hard to not gain weight when you can’t exercise…
She is sure that if she could just get knee replacements she would be able to exercise again and lose weight, but the doctors and the anesthetist are reluctant to operate – they say she is too great a surgical risk at her weight. Life is so unfair…
Of course Maude could push away from the meal table a little sooner, or maybe even try some supplements for joint health – but where’s the fun in that?
She loves to eat, and those supplements are so expensive, and Dr. Myatt told her that it would take months for supplements to help rebuild her knees. So she’s holding out for joint surgery – that would be so quick ‘n’ easy…
Judy – with the irritable bowel / Chron’s disease / collitis has a list of dietary restrictions, peculiarities, sensitivities, and rituals a mile long. She is on a never-ending quest to “find out what’s causing this” – as long as “what’s causing this” agrees with what she thinks is causing her distress.
As long as Judy eats a diet of mostly boiled white rice, bananas, and blended peas, (or some such) she is mostly OK – or so she feels. Try something she doesn’t like – something that “doesn’t agree” with her, and it’s all bad.
Judy is looking for some special, magical herb or potion that will make her well again – but it seems that everything she tries is “too strong” for her now-delicate condition: Vitamins make her queasy. Digestive enzymes are “too much” for her “system”. She can’t eat protein – it bloats her. Fats are out of the question – they give her a tummyache and the runs.
So, until Judy finds that magical herb that will make it all better, she will continue to be the life of every dinner party – though the invitations are getting fewer and fewer these days.
By the way, Dr. Myatt has great success with digestive and bowel issues for those willing to heed her advice.
9.) Joe – “I’ll try any conventional diagnostic test.” – not because he needs it but because insurance will pay for it.
Joe has great insurance – he worked long and hard for it, it’s “gold-plated”, and he’s going to get his money’s worth out of it!
So, when a doctor suggests a scan or x-ray, or MRI, or sleep test, or cardiac catheterization, or stress test or some other adventure in medical billing, Joe is all about it.
After all, he’s earned it, and it’s not costing him anything, and who knows – they might find something serious!
Every time Joe has an ache or ping, or whenever something doesn’t feel quite right he pops in to see his doc – who knows Joe well and knows that he can easily sell him yet another test. After all, it’s free for Joe – not even an itty-bitty little co-pay on his “Cadillac plan.”
And guess what – almost every time Joe has a scan or test or diagnostic procedure they seem to be able to find something that needs “further investigation” and that always leads to another scan or test or diagnostic procedure.
Funny how that happens.
So in the end Dr. Myatt spends a lot of time with him, undoing the damage that conventional medicine does with all their scans and tests and diagnostic procedures and the questionable “treatments” that follow.
We call it “Insurance Blight.”
10.) Freddie – only buys bargain (questionable) supplements
Dr. Myatt gives Freddie her best recommendations for supplements – only what he needs, nothing more, nothing less.
But Frugal Freddie never met a “bargain” that he didn’t like. He’s a “child of the depression” and can pinch a penny hard enough to get change from it. He’s actually related to Penny, who we met earlier.
Freddy complains bitterly about his strained finances, so Dr. Myatt is careful to recommend the bare minimums out of respect for Freddie’s “poverty”.
Now, Freddie isn’t really poor – quite the opposite actually, the result of lots of practice pinching pennies and making shrewd deals.
Freddie can afford to eat sirloin – but he buys brisket and complains about the “tough beef nowadays.”
He can afford decent shoes, but he buys the cheapest he can find and complains when his feet hurt and complains again when the shoes fall apart after a few months.
He could afford a good lawn-mower, but makes do with an old piece of junk he found cheap at a yard sale – cussing and sweating as he yanks and yanks and yanks on the cord trying to make it run.
Likewise, Freddie could afford quality supplements if he wanted – but he takes Dr. Myatt’s recommendations and carefully finds really cheap stuff that he says is “just as good.”
Then Freddie complains bitterly that all his “expensive” supplements aren’t working and that those conventional doctors must be right – vitamins really are useless!
11.) Patricia, aka “Sporadic Pat”, takes her supplements once in a while and stops taking them at the most critical times: when traveling, when sick, when things get hectic and stressful.
“Well, it’s so hard to remember to take them every day…” she’ll say. A one-month supply of multiple vitamins lasts Pat three months.
There are ways to make it easy to remember, and Dr. Myatt has suggested them. But Pat is “forgetful” and forgets most often at the times when the need is greatest.
“I was visiting my mom for a couple of weeks, and I just forgot to pack my supplements” she’ll say. Or she’ll catch some nasty bug (probably because she was traveling and forgot to pack her vities) and be sick in bed for a week – feeling too lousy to be bothered with vitamins or supplements… and since she doesn’t take her supplements regularly, she is sick a lot – too sick to take supplements. You get the picture…
Vitamins and other natural remedies and supplements only work if you take them!
It’s funny how people like Pat can “forget” their vitamins or supplements, but never, ever seem to forget their blood pressure medicine, or cholesterol drugs, or their Acid Blocker pills…
12.) Virginia – with her PhD from the University of Google.
“I’ve been doing research,” she proudly tells Dr. Myatt. Oh really?
Was that a placebo-controlled, double-blind study, a retrospective study or a meta-analysis?
What were the p values? The statistical significance? The area under the curve?
How many people in the group and for how long?
What forms and dosages?
What peer-reviewed journal was it published in?
Did she actually read the entire article or just the abstract?
We’ve written about this patient many times – like a butterfly flitting from one “breakthrough” to the next – gazing with wide-eyed wonder at the “research” articles that she finds with Google searches.
It impresses her even more if the article claims to be “information suppressed by the US government” or that “conventional doctors want to keep this secret” or “the drug companies want to hide this from you.”
Virginia reads the testimonials, and the comments on the forums, and accepts those as solid evidence.
She says she found “hundreds” of references on Google that support her latest theory – never mind that on closer examination, most of those ” references” actually refer to a single “study” done by a college student with an agenda, performed on three mice, in a corner of his dorm room, without any controls.
The other “references” are often a misinterpretation or outright obfuscation of other research, twisted to suit some internet blogger’s pet armchair theory.
“But if it’s on the internet it must be true!” Just like if you read it in a newspaper it must be true, right? Yes, Virginia, and there really is a Santa Claus… After all, the New York Sun said so – in print!
Google is a wonderful search tool, and we use it often. But we need to look behind the breathless pitches and promises to see what the research really said.
We must find the original research, and read it carefully – not just the abstract, which can often be made to say exactly the opposite of what the researchers actually found and reported.
Oh… you don’t know for sure? But it looked like a good article about a study that showed decreased cancer in 6 lab rats who were fed green apples? Do you even know that for sure? Or was it someone’s “interpretation” of a study?
Or was it like the well-known study that “proved” that vitamin E supplements could cause up to a 27% increase in lung cancer in smokers? Or so the abstract and popular press headlines claimed… What those headlines forgot to mention was that the study doomed itself to failure by using a synthetic, un-natural, potentially toxic form of vitamin E that no reputable holistic doctor would use, and no reputable supplier would sell for human consumption.
And so Virginia reads on about the “breakthrough science” that she is certain will be the magic to cure her.
All the while neglecting the clinical experience and solid scientific advice that Dr. Myatt is offering her “’cause that’s just so old-school and boring!”
So, there you have it – some of the patient “types” that we know are not likely to ever “get better.” Do you recognize anyone in there?
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