Fitness for One and All Home Page
Books and eBooks by the Director
Health Care Crisis
By Gary F. Zeolla
Why is it that we have a "health care crisis" in the United States? By this, I am referring to the escalating costs of health care and thus of health insurance coverage and the inability of our health care system to truly heal people. I'll avoid politics here and thus discussing Obamacare. Instead, I'll simply focus on why I think health care and health insurance is so expensive and useless in the USA.
I suffer from many health problems and have been to more doctors in my life than I care to think about. So I have experienced first-hand what our health care system is like. I have been to both traditional and alternative doctors.
Useless Tests for "Tics" and
I won't cover all of the useless treatments I tried for low back
pain that I suffered with from 1982-2000. I discuss all that I went through for
that issue in my booklet
Overcoming Back Pain: A Mind-Body Solution. The solution ending up being
very cheap, reading a book! Again, see my booklet for details. Unfortunately, I
have not been able to find solutions to any of my other health problems, despite
going to a litany of doctors and testing for them.
My current problems began when I was living in Denver, Colorado. When I moved there in 1988 to attend Denver Seminary I did not bother to find a Primary Care Physician (PCP). And for the first year, I had no reason to see a doctor. But then in February of 1989, I developed neurological "tics." These are minor muscle twitches that are very irritating and make sleep impossible.
When I first developed them, I went to a neurologist. I'll never forget him. He looked just like Albert Einstein, with white hair sticking up in the air and all! But that aside, he sent me for a couple of tests. The first was an MRI done on my skull. When I called to make the appointment, I was floored when they told me the test would cost $1,000. I also went for a very painful test, where they shocked me with electrodes in various parts of my body. I think that test cost like $300.
Both tests came back negative, which didn't seem to surprise the doctor at all. I really got the impression he didn't expect that they would show anything, but he sent me for them "just to be sure." After that, I was given a prescription for Dilantin.
Then in the spring of 1990, I developed "popping" sounds in my ears at night that prevented sleep. I first went to an ear specialist. He did some tests, and found nothing. So he sent me to an oral surgeon. He did a full mouth X-ray, which was negative. Later, I was sent me to another neurologist for this problem. He did another MRI on my jaw. That test cost $1,500, and once again was negative.
After moving back to the Pittsburgh area, I continued to suffer with these two problems. So I went regularly to a neurologist for the tics. Eventually, the Dilantin stopped working, and he began to experiment with different drugs. Each would work for a while, and then would stop working.
After a while, I got fed up with all the changing of drugs and did some research on the Internet. I found that supplements of Calcium, Magnesium, and/ or Potassium can help this condition. So I phased off of all of the drugs, and have been taking these supplements since 2000. Those have kept my tics under control as much as the drugs ever did, at a far lower cost. Specifically, I am now taking Country Life's Calcium. Magnesium with D
and Country Life's Magnesium Potassium Aspartate.
This is not to say that supplements are always a cheaper alternative to drugs. I have tried many supplements over the years on my own that have proven to be a complete waste of money. And I have had alternative doctors recommend many supplements for me to try, and they have all proven to be a complete waste of money as well. I've probably spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars over the years on useless supplements. That is why I have the section on Supplements Descriptions on the Web site, to try and help people find more useful supplements while avoiding wasting money on useless ones.
After I moved back to the Pittsburgh area, my noises in the ears
at night problem seemed to calm down for a few years, until the summer of 2000.
Then it came roaring back. This time, my PCP sent me to an allergist. He did
skin scratch tests. I tested positive to over half of the items that he tested
me for, both for various foods and for environmental items like dust, mold, and
What he recommended was to use drugs and to undergo allergy shots. He said I would need to go for the shots every week for the next 3-5 years. That did not seem too appealing. And worst of all, I was listening to an alternative doctor on the radio who always blasted drugs and allergy shots as not being helpful. He instead recommended his allergy treatments.
This is where I made probably my biggest mistake of my life in regards to my health. I should have gone through with at least the allergy shots. Yes, 3-5 years would have been a long time to go to a doctor every week. But it would have been long over now, and I may have avoided the problems I am currently having in this regard. But due to being basically "brainwashed" by the radio doctor, I went to him for his treatments. What they were were a form of NAET treatments. I cover these in detail on the site, so I won't go into detail here. I went to him and later to another doctor for the same type of treatments.
Although it seemed like the NAET treatments worked initially when I finished them in the spring of 2002, very soon after I finished with the treatments, my health began to get worse. Most especially, my allergies began to come roaring back. Over the next few years, I gradually began to react to just about everything in my environment and many foods. I now feel like I am allergic to just about everything. As a result, I have been forced to live a basically isolated life, with rarely being able to leave my home. But even in my own home I am always coming into contact with things that bother me. And my fatigue has worsened over the years, so that now I can barely function. I barely have the energy to write this article.
But the strange part is, going once again to traditional allergists, blood and skin scratch testing now says I have no allergies. So there is nothing they can do for me. All I can figure it the NAET treatments altered my immune system so that I am no longer testing as being allergic to anything, but I still feel like I am. And when I am in an allergenic state, which I almost always am, I feel just plain terrible. I don't only get the "normal" allergenic reactions of nasal congestion and the like, but I feel "contaminated" like I am covered by dust, sweat, and dirt. And this leads to my other health problems all worsening, especially sleep disturbances.
The only thing traditional doctors can do for me is to say it "all in your head" and send me to a psychiatrist. So I am now taking three prescription drugs, which help me to sleep, but cause side effects, like constipation and worsening of my fatigue. I have also lost a lot of strength and can barely work out anymore. Just slight exertion leaves me exhausted and sore.
So basically, my life is now a nightmare, with nowhere to turn. Both alternative and traditional medicine has failed me. I am only 51 at this writing but feel like I am 80. The only thing that keeps me going is my faith in God. Bottom line is I retract any recommendations I have given for NAET treatments. But I am leaving the articles on NAET on the site just for those who are interested in them. But I wouldn't recommend it.
On the cost of all of this, I spent over $2,000 of my own money on the NAET treatments, and in the end, that was a major waste of money and a ruining of my health. The allergy shots would have been expensive as well, but at least they probably would have worked as there are studies showing that they do, unlike NAET treatments which have no supporting scientific evidence.
Moreover, I have wasted hundreds of dollars of my insurance company's money going to a couple of traditional allergist more recently for the skin scratch and blood tests for allergies.
Fibromyalgia and Stiff
In 2001, I was diagnosed first with
fibromyalgia and then
stiff person syndrome. Again, I discuss these conditions in depth on the Web
site, so I won't discuss them here. But here, I will say, the former diagnosis
was by my PCP while for the later my PCP sent me to a neurologist. I truly
believe that my allergy problem is the root cause of both of these conditions.
But that has not stopped my PCP from trying to find other answers.
He first sent me to a rheumatologist. She did some blood tests, they came back negative, so she sent me to a neurologist. He did some basic office testing, but then did another very painful electrode test. Again, I was being "shocked" at various parts of my body. But then, halfway through the test, the machine broke! They messed around with it for half an hour or so, then told me I would have to come back to finish the test.
But everything was coming up as normal at that point, and there was no reason to think that would change with further testing. So I declined to go back to be "tortured" again. But it was another expensive (and painful) test for nothing.
The neurologist said he couldn't find anything wrong with me and sent me back to the rheumatologist. She did another blood test, which again was normal. And that was the end of that. Neither offered me any help. Just a waste of time and money.
Most Recent Useless Specialists' Appointments and Tests
Most recently (in September/ October 2012), my PCP did a
standard blood test. He told me it showed I had low levels of white blood cells,
red blood cells, hemoglobin, and hemacrit (WBC, RBC, HGB, HCT). This had me very
worried. Low levels of these blood components can be markers of bone marrow
disease, including leukemia. So he sent me to a hematologist.
The hematologist took one look at my blood test and said everything was normal. Nothing to worry about. But he re-did the blood test anyhow. And the second test showed my levels as being even higher than the first. But despite everything being normal, the hematologist wants me to get an ultrasound done on my liver and pancreas, even though he doesn't believe there's anything wrong with them. He just wants to get a baseline, "just in case" say ten years from now I have problems they'll have something to compare it to. That might sound like a good idea. But if nothing's wrong now, then it amounts to a useless test that is probably very expensive.
Meanwhile, my initial blood tests showed slightly high levels of a muscle enzyme and some marker for lupus. So my PCP wants me to see a rheumatologist. But as mentioned, I've been to her before. The slightly high levels of muscle enzymes are just due to lifting weights and my chronically injured leg. And I have no symptoms of lupus other than fatigue, which in my case is from fibromyalgia. But I made an appointment with the rheumatologist anyhow, but I'm not sure if I'll keep it or not. She'll probably just re-test things, they'll come back as normal, and she'll tell me there's nothing she can do for me.
Bottom line, I'm having to suffer through going out for doctor's appointments and tests for no reasons, while my insurance company is paying for useless appointments and tests. And that is why health care costs are so high in this country. When my PCP keeps sending me to specialists based on what he says are abnormal blood tests but are not really anything to worry about, it leads a lot of useless specialists' appointment and re-testing.
Diet and Exercise
What I have found helpful is careful attention to diet and to
continue to exercise, no matter how difficult it is for me to do so. In regards
to diet, my
God-given Foods Eating Plan book details my ideas on the subject. And I have
found that as long as I stick with my eating plan, I can at least function. But
if I go off of my eating plan, then I can barely function at all. So I know that
no matter how bad my health is, it's not due to a poor diet. Just the opposite;
it's my diet that keeps me functioning at all.
Meanwhile, as noted, I am no longer able to lift weights intensely and to compete in powerlifting like I was doing when I wrote my book Starting and Progressing in Powerlifting. However, I still follow the basic ideas laid out in that book in my workouts. I just follow the alterations as laid out in the article Powerlifting Book: Beneficial for Non-powerlifters.
Despite being low-intensity, I know my workouts are benefiting me. They are keeping me from gaining body fat, as many do when health problems force them to limit physical activity. And they are enabling me to keep from losing too much muscle. I've lost several pounds since I've been forced to limit the intensity of my workouts, but I am sure I would lose far more muscle if I stopped lifting weights altogether.
Moreover, at my most recent doctor's appointment, my blood pressure was only 104/ 58 and my resting heart rate was 58. Those are both lower than normal. If I wasn't working out, both would probably be above normal.
I could write a whole book detailing all of the experiences I
have had with the medical establishment, with both traditional and alternative
doctors. I've been to many more doctors and undergone many more tests and have
more health difficulties than I have described in this short article. But the
point of this article is that I have suffered much going from doctor to doctor
looking for an answer to my problems, and all it has gotten me is to get worse
in my problems and to waste a lot of money.
Thousands of those dollars have come from my own pocket, while many thousands more have been covered by my insurance company. And this is why I scoff when I hear politicians say we have "the greatest health care system in the world." What we have is a very expensive system that cannot find the true answers for people with "unorthodox" health problems, like mine.
Health Care Crisis. Copyright © 2012 by Gary F. Zeolla.
The above article was posted on this Web site October 20, 2012.
Dealing with Health Difficulties
Traditional Medicine: Dealing with Health Difficulties
Text Search Alphabetical List of Pages Contact Information
Fitness for One and All Home Page
Books and eBooks by the Director