I Know a Man Who Was Cured of Colitis
If you have read this book so far, you will know that I do not consider colitis as a hopeless and helpless ailment. In fact, I am very cheerful in my estimate of the possibility of helping those who come with colitis. However, I am by no means as flagrantly optimistic as those eternal busybodies, your friends. Someone once said, “God protect me from my friends! I can take care of my enemies myself.”
Nowhere is the truth of this adage more apparent. Let it be known that you are suffering from this ailment, and you will find a host of “friends” who will tell you they know “just the thing for that.” In fact, so they say, they know a man who was cured of colitis by taking this or that drug, by eating grass, swallowing sauerkraut juice, stuffing himself with yogurt, black strap molasses, or any one of a hundred other “remedies.”
Now all of these may have been helpful in a case that was supposed to be colitis, but you are doing yourself a great injustice if you assume firstly, that your case is just like that one was and consequently, that the remedy which worked so miraculously in his case will do the same for you.
“Let me take your diet,” is not an infrequent request when good friends get together and discuss their ailments. It is gratifying to note that people are coming more and more to recognize the fact that diet is so important in the treatment of their ailment. What they should know, however, is that in order to be really effective, it must be formulated to meet their particular needs. Otherwise, it is just about the same as asking your friend to loan you his bunch of keys. One of them may fit the lock to your home, but the chances are that it will not. It is essential to know what kind of a lock you have to open.
Applying this to your problem of health, can’t you see how important it is to know what the objective of your diet should be? I am sure that you will immediately perceive that the important thing to know is the nature of your illness. In other words, the diagnosis of your ailment must be definitely determined. Your guess as to what the trouble is is certainly not a worthwhile guide to treatment. Neither a good guess or anything short of divine intuition will take the place of a thorough physical examination and a carefully thought out diagnosis such as your good friend, the family doctor, or your equally good friend, his consultant in proctology, will afford you.
A diet, in order to be effective, must be fashioned to your needs, as indicated by a thorough physical examination, including a urine analysis. By this, your doctor can see how your body is handling the various foods you feed it. If you have sugar in the urine, it is plain to him that you are not effectively using starch and sugar in your food. He will therefore alter the usual pattern of a colitis diet to meet these needs. On the other hand, if you show albumen in the urine analysis, he will want to modify your intake of salt and certain proteins. Perhaps all the foregoing will convince you that it is not possible to give in a book or out of a book a general diet which meets the needs of every case. It is for this reason that I am sure you will realize that it is not possible to apply to yourself the diet of somebody who you hear “was cured of colitis.”
Intelligence is, I am sorry to say, notoriously lacking in the human mind when a person is sick; hence the old adage, “He who is his own doctor has a fool for a patient.” Believe it or not, this applies even to doctors themselves and that is why they rarely attempt self-treatment. They realize that they are too near the picture to get a proper perspective. Quite naturally the same applies to people who are not doctors. Indeed, woeful are the effects when a person begins to use what is humorously referred to as his intelligence in the self-treatment of a serious disease. The same person who would fume with fury if his doctor, a regularly licensed, medically educated man, were to use an untried or unproven new remedy on him, will often seem to go out of his way to find trouble. Needless to say, anyone starting on that mission will, in less than no time, be able to report “mission accomplished.”
I have known patients who have resented it when their doctor, in good faith, gave them aureomycin and found their condition to be greatly aggravated. Yet there are many people who insist on trying to tell their family doctor exactly what sort of treatment they wish. If he has the moral courage to tell them no, they become offended. Lacking this courage, the patient stands a chance of injury.
Imagine the state of affairs that the public mind has come to when patients will call up a doctor and blandly say, “Can you give me a shot of penicillin, Doctor, I have a touch of intestinal flu.” How luxuriously comfortable the practice of medicine has become when a doctor no longer needs to study a case, arrive at a diagnosis, and form a judgment as to the remedy. I assure you, this happens more than once and in more than one place.
Here is a powerful drug, penicillin, which can poison, as well as perform miracle cures. Yet it is blithely employed without heed for its need nor its powers. Some people are sensitive to this drug, and a wise doctor gives a preliminary small dose to determine this susceptibility. Penicillin is of absolutely no use in certain types of infection. Since it is of no use in these instances, the injection of such a powerful substance is unnecessary and can be harmful. There are also cases which seem to develop a penicillin poisoning as the result of the accumulation of the substance in the body. The result is a horrible rash which is most difficult to heal and extremely troublesome to the patient.
Much the same can be said with regard to cortisone, a truly miraculous pharmaceutical preparation. The use of cortisone has been found to promote the growth of hair on the face, a fact which will prove most disturbing to women patients if its use is persisted in. While this risk might be considered inconsequential in a severe case of arthritis, it certainly would not be justifiable in the ordinary case of colitis. Then too, cortisone has been found to have a tremendous disturbing effect on other glands of internal secretion. Still further, there is some question as to whether it stimulates latent or hidden cancer cells. This, of course, is not definitely known to be the case, but then too, so much about the drug is not definitely known that one would do much better to rely upon the good judgment of his physician than to take it haphazardly. It has a tremendous good effect in some cases of colitis suited to its use, but for a patient to insist that their doctor give them this new substance merely on the strength of the publicity it has received is not fair either to the doctor nor to the patient themselves.
In this ailment, as in no other, the old adage that “he who doctors himself has a fool for a patient” is most certainly true. Cured of Colitis Written By: J. F. Montague, M.D., Continue Reading: Truth and Consequence