Column – ‘Magic’ pill?

Columnist+Kate+L.+Keeler+shares+her+story+with+painkillers+and+examines+their+long-term+effects.+%22If+you+are+in+pain%2C+there+is+a+reason%2C%22+Keeler+said.+%22Do+not+let+your+body+rot+away+on+painkillers+like+I+did+for+so+long.%22
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Column – ‘Magic’ pill?

Columnist Kate L. Keeler shares her story with painkillers and examines their long-term effects.

Columnist Kate L. Keeler shares her story with painkillers and examines their long-term effects. "If you are in pain, there is a reason," Keeler said. "Do not let your body rot away on painkillers like I did for so long."

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Columnist Kate L. Keeler shares her story with painkillers and examines their long-term effects. "If you are in pain, there is a reason," Keeler said. "Do not let your body rot away on painkillers like I did for so long."

Rawpixel Ltd on Flickr

Rawpixel Ltd on Flickr

Columnist Kate L. Keeler shares her story with painkillers and examines their long-term effects. "If you are in pain, there is a reason," Keeler said. "Do not let your body rot away on painkillers like I did for so long."

Kate L. Keeler, Columnist

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Columnist calls for doctors to change practice

“Feel better, Tylenol.”

“We feel your pain, Motrin.”

“Relief doesn’t get any better than this, Advil.”

Painkillers are attractive. The idea that a small pill can understand and relieve my pain is utterly and incredibly attractive.

But there is a problem with these pills. These ‘magic’ pills, if you will, lose their luster over time. Their soothing enchantment eventually morphs into a wicked sorcery that wreaks havoc on the human body.

These ‘magic’ pills, if you will, lose their luster over time. Their soothing enchantment eventually morphs into a wicked sorcery that wreaks havoc on the human body.”

— Kate L. Keeler

I have experienced this firsthand. Almost two years ago, my doctor told me that I had to lose weight, and thus I began eating healthier foods. Around the same time, I started having severe migraines. My whole body would go weak. Muscles would twitch randomly. I became extremely sensitive to light, and I had a headache and lightheadedness everyday. Such migraines were not only severe, but prevalent. I eventually found myself in a state of migrainosus – a constant migraine.

I did what anyone would have done. I took painkillers. Soon, I was living off of Ibuprofen and Tylenol. If I forgot to take some with me before leaving the house, I would worry. What if I had an attack at school? At choir practice? At band practice? At a performance? I would not be able to think or to focus!

In February of last year, my body gave up. In spite of all the painkillers, my body exploded in one, ugly, massive firework of pain. I was pretty much bedridden for a week, leaving the house only to see a neurologist. She offered me Botoxnerve blockers, and told me to eat healthier. I refused the Botox and nerve blockers. I hated the idea of chemicals freezing the nerves in my head and neck, and I knew that it would be a temporary, expensive and perhaps addictive fix.

I got worse. I was not suicidal, but I wanted to die. Every day was pain. It felt like there was no light at the end of a very dark, very cold, very narrow tunnel. 

I was not suicidal, but I wanted to die”

— Kate L. Keeler

Just a few months ago, my mother went to see a naturopathic doctor for her own health issues. The naturopath told her that she thought the root cause of her sickness as well as mine was allergies.

Yes, allergies.

She explained to us that we have an intolerance to high levels of histamines. Histamines are triggered to be released in the body by stress and certain foods. Such foods even include many healthy foods. Foods that I had been eating pretty much every day since the doctor told me to lose weight and the neurologist told me to eat healthier.

My mother and I thought this naturopath was crazy, but in desperation we listened to her. We removed high histamine foods from our diets, and tried to reduce stress as much as possible. At first it was hard as well as fruitless, but after about a month, both my health and my mother’s improved dramatically.

So why am I telling you all this? Why do you need to know about some school-newspaper girl’s medical history and her crazy naturopath?

                                                                       Image courtesy of jplenio on Pixabay                                                                       If a branch of a tree is rotting, it is rotting for a reason that must be addressed in order for the rotting to stop. “The human body is a tree. If it is hurting, it is hurting for a reason,” Keeler said. “But how often do doctors prescribe their patients painkillers to cover up the reason that they are not smart enough to find?” 

If a branch on a tree is rotting, painkillers soothe the pain and perhaps even slow the rotting. But the painkillers will wear off, and in certain cases, the tree may even become immune to their effects. Thus, the branch will start rotting again and other branches will begin to rot until the whole tree is mush.

Painkillers fail to get to the root cause of the issue. Perhaps the tree’s branch is rotting because of a parasite. Perhaps it is rotting because of a virus. But painkillers will never kill the parasite nor the virus. Painkillers simply cover up the pain, and eventually they fail to do even that.

Doctors need to…search for the reason why their patients hurt, instead of ways to protect their ego.”

— Kate L. Keeler

The human body is a tree. If it is hurting, it is hurting for a reason, and that reason must be addressed.  But how often do doctors prescribe their patients painkillers to cover up the reason that they are not smart enough to find?

Part of the Hippocratic Oath reads “I will not be ashamed to say ‘I know not’.” Doctors need to do their job – to search for the reason why their patients hurt, instead of ways to protect their ego. Doctors need to admit when they are wrong, instead of wasting their patients’ time and money for the sake of their reputation.

In the long run, Tylenol will not make you feel better, Motrin does not feel your pain, and there is relief out there at heck of lot better than Advil. If you are in pain, there is a reason. Do not let your body rot away on painkillers like I did for so long.

This column was updated for tone and rules.