A week ago, I wrote a blog post entitled “When I Was a Drug Dealer”.
It was an introspective retrospective of the 18 years I spent in strict Internal Medicine practice. And while that may sound typical, it was definitely the “Road Less Traveled” to paraphrase Robert Frost. I do not regret one minute of it looking back, as it was a huge part of what shaped me and my future.
I talked about my wonderful Dad, my wonderful patients, my medical mentors, and the amazing nursing staff that had my back and made what was an unbelievably tough job bearable at least at times.
The bonus was that some of my former patients wrote in and we had some smiles, tears and laughs over our time together.
I realized I lived and worked in what would come to be the end of the “Golden Age of Medicine”. This was before business types stepped in and businessified medicine all the while cleverly maneuvering the doctor into impossible positions under the guise of “cost containment”.
Did it stop the rise of medical costs? I will let you answer that.
This piece was also very popular with you my reader(s) so I thought you might enjoy a little more introspection in the form of “What happened next!”
Now this will not be a blow by blow account, no, much more of a summary.
So, what happened at the end of that Golden Era when I left traditional medicine to strike out on my own and put to rest the nagging questions in my soul and heart about the efficacy of what I had spent all of my early and middle adult life doing?
I will tell you in just a moment but indulge me here for a story that will make all of this so much clearer.
The “House of God” was a bestselling book written by a real live doctor named Samuel Shem sometime during his training years. It was eventually made into a movie that was apparently never released. Rumor is you can still get a copy of both out there on the magic interweb.
The book details the trials and tribulations of a young doctor during his formative years. It was so accurate for those of us that were educated during the 70’s and 80’s that it was considered required reading by all interns and residents.
The author assumes and presumably is the typical young bright eyed bushy tailed physician in training who gets more than an eyeful and earful of confusing, contradictory, and hard to believe hard to swallow wisdom from his elders. He is both shocked and disabused of all his notions of what it means to be a doctor and what his colleagues are like.
It goes into detail about the pathologic physical and mental coping habits many doctors form to simply survive the ordeal.
The biggest thing you get is what I think must exist in all difficult professions. This is the sense of isolation and elitism that affects so many physicians. We all had to brain wash each other into believing we were doing God’s work in the only real and worthwhile way that it could be done- by saving our fellow man. The other great irony is that we are taught we are the best and brightest hope for humanity. We are the smartest most independent and pioneering individuals on the planet.
All of us truly hoped the first part was true, but as for the second part, well, we were sadly mistaken. We were sheep. We were slaves to medical societies, certification organizations, medical journals like NEJM and JAMA and of course drug companies and lawyers.
As I progressed in my work I saw my colleagues fall to the very same diseases we were supposedly empowered to prevent. I saw unhappiness, depression, substance abuse and divorce. No one could possible understand us but us! This often included wives and children!
We had a false sense of independence and freedom that became apparent for me when I became truly free to do what I think is God’s work!
So, saving your fellow man the “right way” comes with an incredible amount ancillary and noncontributory baggage that no one needs!
Another part of that was the macho attitude- the iron man of medicine that both young men and women were told to aspire to. Any deviation was met with the kind of strong disapproval that bordered on what the Amish call Shunning. This is where you are cut off from the community that supported and nurtured you.
You are a traitor, a quack, and a charlatan.
When I launched my first supplement business in 2002 I had to endure this from my colleagues. My own medical director tried to intimidate me into stopping and asked me if I needed psychiatric help.
I actually saved the tape of our conversation for inspiration.
Good thing I did because while the local shunning has stopped to a degree the national shunning as I ascended the world stage has not.
Even just this past week I got a reminder of it.
A dear friend and brilliant colleague in the stem cell field has become involved in the typical ugly uninformed moronic politically motivated quest to destroy the clinical aspect of stem cell therapy in America. Now there are always 2 sides to the story and frankly there are a lot of quacks who do not know a stem cell from a crenated red blood cell or a fat cell. As usual the innocent pay for the acts of the guilty!
Anyway, in an attempt at character assassination the “discovery letter” listed the people this individual has worked with recently. There were accusations of criminal behavior and quackery. Now in truth unbeknownst to this individual some of the people on the list were indeed real criminals who sadly have so far escaped justice.
But yours truly was also named in that company of both low lifes and honest people with passion, as a quack “because he sells vitamins”.
So, the very fact that I sold vitamins makes me a quack.
Never mind the almost 20 years of comfort counseling and lifesaving efforts on my part when I was a “good doctor”. I have been shunned and labeled.
Of course, I know better and frankly after over a decade of this it has long since lost its sting.
And while my involvement in the supplement industry came to an abrupt halt a while back, I have wonderful news for both of us, you, and me.
I will be relaunching myself and my business in a very short time.
In a sense I have come full circle. I will be starting at the beginning but with a huge amount of knowledge and ability I did not have.
In addition, I am still friends with some of the foremost scientists in my fields of passion and expertise and I know in my heart of hearts what is real and what is BS.
I am not about to let myself be intimidated, deceived, or stopped ever again.
So when will I come back again and do what I do best? Many of my readers are waiting and want to know.
I know you are still out there because you have written me and asked me when all this is going to happen. Well the answer is almost immediately.
One last thing.
I will continue to search for the real House of God as it pertains to our health and wellness, in my travels. And I promise to tell you where it is when I find it! Frankly we’ve already laid the foundation.
Best, in Health, Joy, and our past and future growth together!