Tuesday, April 28, 2015

When your "health practitioner" is anti vax

Recently I made the decision to go and see a chiropractor. It wasn’t a decision I made lightly because I’ve read so many things about them being quacks. But in my readings I found that they could actually be good for back pain, which is what I was seeking to resolve. I didn’t want it to miraculously change my fertility, or cure my asthma, or any pseudoscience bullshit, I just wanted my back to not keep me awake at night.

I've had a few appointments now and I was really intrigued with how it was all done, and my back was actually feeling a tad better. I went to my appointment the other day and my usual guy wasn't there, so I saw the head honcho of the centre. His treatment room has three beds; he’ll tell you that’s because the treatment isn’t secretive and so that we can all learn from each other. It didn’t bother me at all. I’ve birthed two babes, it takes a lot for me to be embarrassed these days.

So I lay down on the centre bed as indicated, my head through the hole, and listened as the Chiropractor went to work on the lady to my left.

She tells him she’s achy all over because she’d had a flu vax yesterday, but other than that, just her usual pain.

"Well if you get the flu vax you're guaranteed to get the flu, if you don't get the flu vax, there is only a chance" he said.

My head was down, so no one saw me roll my eyes.

The lady went on to tell him she has diminished lung function and that therefore, the flu is really dangerous for her. She continued, saying she got the flu every year until she started getting the jab. She explained that the theory is you get a small dose so that your immune system is trained with how to deal with it, hopefully meaning you'll be able to fight it off better if you do get it.

Quick as a flash he replied "I'm glad you called it a theory, because that's all it is. There's no proof anywhere that it actually works". Those were his exact words.

I’m so glad I was laying down for that, because I might have fallen over.

I didn’t know what to do. Do I get up and storm out? Do I start a huge argument with him? Do I stand up for this woman with diminished lung function who is being told to not have a flu vax in the future?

I was angry but I decided to stay put to hear what he had to say for himself when it was my turn.

After saying his goodbyes to Lung Lady, he walked over to my bed and asked how I was. I said fine. He said he didn’t believe me. What can I say? I suck at lying and it was obvious from my voice that I was not happy.

“I’m just a little upset from the conversation I just heard” I said.

“Ah, yes, vaccination can be an emotive topic. Can I ask why you are upset?”

“Because science” I replied.

He went to work on my back, making strange breathing noises, rubbing my temples, placing glass vials on my throat, a finger in my mouth; a whole heap of weird stuff and dude, I just want my back to stop hurting, thanks. As he worked, he talked.

He told me how he’d never been vaccinated, that his lifelong chiropractic treatments had kept him safe from viruses and diseases. It was really hard to not scream out that actually herd immunity had kept him safe all this time, and now that the herd immunity is lowering we’re seeing an increase in vaccine preventable diseases and deaths.

But I just listened. In fact I stayed, for the most part anyway, completely silent. He took my silence to mean I was agreeing with him, so he kept talking. Digging a little hole for himself.

He told me that food allergies are caused by vaccines. He stopped just short of pulling out the autism link (you know, the one that has been debunked about three million times now), but mentioned that vaccine can cause delays, social problems and behavioural issues.

At this point I was so angry that I had tears in my eyes and he saw me wipe them away. Again, he took this as passionate agreement.

“Has one of your children had a vaccine reaction?” he queried, with genuine concern.

“No.” I spluttered.

I couldn’t say any more. I was dumbfounded. I opened my mouth to speak but nothing came out.

I have met people who don’t vaccinate before, but they weren’t standing in an office, as a ‘medical professional’ proclaiming that there is no evidence behind immunisations. Interestingly, by the way, there is a heap of studies on how there is no scientific evidence behind chiropractic work helping with anything but back pain.

He talked at length about how the government is taking away the choices of parents by removing Centrelink payments from those who choose to take care of their kids; claimed that pharmaceutical companies only introduced vaccines to make money; and said his mother was brave to make the right decision not to vaccinate him. Spoken like a true conspiracy theorist.

All of this in the space of ten minutes while he manipulated my spine and made me move my legs, open my jaw and put my hands here and there; a game of Twister on myself.

I collected my belongings, paid my fee and walked out the door. I promptly wrote down everything that had happened, not wanting my emotions to cloud my memory, and when I was done, I burst in to tears.

They were angry tears. Embarrassed tears. It took so long for me to come to chiropractic, to embrace a little bit more of the alternative side of life. I ignored all the evidence, all the science, and had treatment anyway, based on anecdotes. In my head I was thinking “what does it say about me if I choose this method?” and at the time my answer was that I was, quite obviously, a dickhead. But I’ve changed my mind since then.

I’m just a person looking for answers. A person with an insanely sore, previously broken back, that just wants to be pain free. I’m desperate, to be honest, and willing to give anything a go, even “alternative medicine”.

Because anything Tim Minchin says is true. Especially if it's on the internet
I had been liking the treatments. My back was actually feeling better, but now I’m just so conflicted. The next day I rang up and cancelled all my future appointments. Then I rang my health fund and told them he should not be on their preferred provider list.

I cannot support a business or practitioner who can advocate to a woman with diminished lung function to not get a flu vaccine, in odds with all medical advice.

I cannot support a business that tells me vaccines are only about making money, particularly when he wasn’t cracking my back for free.

I cannot support a business that says vaccines are not proven; that it is just a “theory”.

I haven't decided yet if I'm going to search for a new Chiropractor that only tries to fix backs and doesn't claim he or she can cure addictions and diseases. Once bitten, twice shy, fool me once, and all that shebang.

As I sit here, contemplating what to do next, I'm staring at an Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency complaint form that my health fund has provided for me to fill out. Because if you use your position as a "health practitioner" to spout bullshit about vaccines being unproven, when there is a plethora of scientific evidence that they do work, and recommend people don't get them when there are people who can't get the jab and babies too young to be immunized DYING, you can bet your arse I'm going to make an official complaint about you.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are blogger crack.
Comments are taken through Disqus. If you don't see that here then please try another browser or device. Thanks x


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...