Question doctors. Their advice isn’t always correct or safe


A few years ago I was gardening and got some dirt in my eye. It got infected so I went to a doctor and told him what happened. They said, “That’s impossible, we see no sign of it,” and wanted to put me on highly toxic IV antibiotics for a month for some rare and much more serious disease. I refused, took the eye drops that were appropriate for dirt in the eye, and got better quickly.

Another time I was eating a pill and it stuck halfway down and dissolved while stuck to the side of my esophagus. After a couple of weeks of esophagus pain I went to a doctor to see what he could do to help. He literally refused to consider the possibility that a pill had stuck to my esophagus, told me I had a serious chronic disease, and instructed me to take four times the recommended dose of a nasty med for the rest of my life. I thought about that for a few days and then gave him the heaviest verbal thrashing one human being can give another. So I refused the meds and got better in another week, which is normal for a pill stuck in the esophagus.

Then there was the time I was due for surgery. They said take a certain antibiotic the day before. When I got home from the pharmacy I noticed, at the top of the instruction sheet, in capital letters, “WARNING: THIS MEDICATION CAN CAUSE PERMANENT HEARING LOSS.” I called up the surgeon and said, “I’m a professional musician by avocation as well as vocation; I would rather die without surgery than live as a deaf musician.” He said, “No problem.” It turned out there was another perfectly safe antibiotic I could take but they hadn’t thought about that.

The obvious conclusion? Question all health care providers, especially the ones who do not listen to the patient! Many years ago I studied and then practiced acupuncture, and was an active part of the alternative healthcare community in both Vermont and California from about 1977 to 1990. But I met so many untrained incompetent egotistical under-educated anti-scientific quacks that I became ashamed to be an alternative medical practitioner, closed my clinical practice, and went back to full time music.

Fresh, local, organic vegetarian food and nonstop music is my health care now, and if I absolutely have to go to a doctor, you can be very sure I ask a lot of questions and argue with many of the answers. We are in the dark ages of health care; it is a science that has not really been discovered yet. Be careful, my friends.