Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Neutraceuticals? Nutrasuticles? Nutriceuticals?



The blue boxes stacked on one another are bovie electrocautery units. The clear plastic is a drape that separates the surgical field from me. In cardiac surgery it is hung over a metal frame that is still called 'The Ether Screen' although ether, which is explosive, has been out of the O.R. for like, over fifty years. The three boxes on the bottom are the pumps that carry drips. In heart surgery the blood flow to the heart and the blood pressure and heart rate are controlled by very strong medicine that is constantly infused. The clear bag to the top left is the carrier fluid to bring the drugs in to the patient. The little blue spike is a 'minidripper' that has sixty drops per cc instead of the usual ten. The box with the number 38 on it is a BIS monitor. It is attached to a sticker on the forehead of a patient. Anything below sixty is considered 'low risk of intraoperative awareness' and the level of consciousness is 'general anesthesia'. Awake is one hundred. After you have pulled an all-nighter you are about a seventy. In heart surgery, the anesthesia weakens the heart (it does, temporarily, in all anesthestics, but the heart surgery patient is most vulnerable to this effect). Sometimes it is not safe to give too much. People can 'wake up' in the middle of surgery and know what is going on if it is 'not enough'. That is why the BIS monitor is in use.

Can we agree that I give drugs for a living? I know the onset, effect, and duration of each drug's use. Yesterday, the cardiologist kept asking me, 'what dose of propofol are you giving? what dose?' and I was like, 'dude? at my level it is instinct what I give. It is like driving. How many times do you step on the gas and the brake when you drive?' And he kept asking, 'Are you giving it in ten and twenty milligram boluses?' I was like, 'Dude, this patient has an intra aortic balloon pump being inserted--YES I am giving it in very small boluses--but I call it titrating to effect.'

All I have to say about the industry of 'medicine from food', that word that sounds fancy but I can't spell in the title, is that every bit of my chemical engineering training kicked in when I saw the booths at the Expo I went to last weekend on Natural Products. The pill-filling machine that was sent in from China looked cool. It was loud. But there was no 'blip' whatsoever on the Reiki-radar.  Heck, for all I knew, the capsules were bovine hide gelatin. Ick!

There was a booth from Utah with a reconstituted powder that was done at such low temperatures that it was considered 'raw'. The salesman said, 'I can't tell the difference between fresh carrot juice and this'. My son agreed, saying, 'It was good'. I could tell. Big time. It was like the difference between Cool Whip and organic whipped cream made fresh by beating it in your kitchen with a little organic vanilla and turbinado sugar. This was cool whip; all of the Life Force was absent from it.

What did kick in? My distrust of big pharma. I work with them. I have to. They have the drugs. But when a new one comes out, at our anesthesia conferences, they hire actors and have a big booth and spend lots of money and give out lots of pens, trinkets, and bags like to reuse at the grocery store that are called 'totes' to PROMOTE the new drugs.  I saw LOTS of money-grubbing companies on the make for the next big thing. Somehow it didn't surprise me.

That is how I put my Reiki to best use. Only the booths that 'resonated' did I stop at. Only then did I taste and allow my child to taste. Most of them, the drinks, were nasty. One, with chocolate extract to lower blood pressure, was not allowed to be tasted by children. Why? Because their blood pressure is low already.  What? I call that 'practicing medicine without a license'. I call a spade a spade.

Am I going to stand on my soap box right now?

No.

I am going to tell a story, and go.

Once upon a time, I had a roommate in college named Patty. We met in Ochem (organic chemistry class0, and lived together the rest of school. Patty was a biochemistry major and wanted to go for her PhD. Patty knew in her choice she would be exposed to possible carcinogens in her work, and that her life might be twenty years shorter than mine, who studied chemical engineering. But she loved it! She worked with Bruce Ames, who was the best of the best of the best at the time. Patty's life revolved around her experiments, which could take days. She would come and go at all hours, and basically forget that I was trying to sleep in the room next door to the kitchen when she would come home at two a.m. and cook popcorn.  Patty was a genius, if you will, almost to the exclusion of common courtesy, but she was cool and I dealt with it.

Bruce Ames said this: one of the most powerful carcinogens in the world is aflatoxin. It is found in peanut butter. However, there are OTHER chemical compounds present in peanut butter that COUNTERACT the effects of aflatoxin. Because of this natural balance, you can eat peanut butter with no worry about ever getting cancer. Most foods in nature are that way.

Did you know that decaffeinated coffee, most of the time, has been exposed to powerful organic hydrocarbons to get the caffeine out? Stuff like benzene, real organic solvents. I drink coffee the way it was made. I don't want any of that solvent in my system. I think swiss water process might be okay, but still, with my training, I don't want to touch it because the processing is harsh enough to yank the caffeine out from where it belongs and leave something else 'imbalanced' from the way it was made in nature.

This is why I am not going to bother to learn to spell that word in the title. I give drugs for a living. My drugs originally were like aspirin and extracted from the willow by the bayer company. Then they went all Frankenstein, but for lack of anything better, they work and are 'regulated' to a certain standard that is called 'medicine that is conventional'.  I learned how to make chemicals back in college. And my roommate who worked with biological chemicals knew the risk to health better than anybody. Not only did she work with Bruce Ames, she worked in a lab that tested produce for pesticides. We got all of the 'clean stuff' that was left over and passed the tests at home. She brought it for us. Did you know they could tell the exact signature of a pesticide in the fruits and vegetables, and ID it to a particular farm? Many were things like DDT that were still in use outside the country but were banned here. The produce LOOKED normal. That is why I have bought certified pesticide-free and organic ever since. I might have been starving when I was in college and medical school, but I was intelligent enough to dodge that bullet.

Enough for my story about Patty, Bruce Ames, and my produce I ate in college.

I will leave the decision about 'nutrient-medicines-extracted from foods and processed and marketed as healthy' to you.

Namaste,

Reiki Doc

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