Tuesday, 14 March 2017

A Shock to the Health System

I've been very quiet on the blogging front as I've had other priorities; pretty massive ones. You see both of my parents are really sick.  Mum has been dealing with pancreatic and liver cancer for the past four years and dad was recently diagnosed with leukemia and was rushed to hospital in an extremely serious and life threatening state.  I've just returned from Kent, where they live, and despite a few days of rest at home I am still feeling relatively shell shocked.  The worry, multiple hospital and medical visits, helping them work out every day practicalities and putting support services in place have played their part in the mental exhaustion and stress, but there is more to it than that.  I'm in shock about how all this could have happened.

When you are young you don't really think much about your parents not being around, and in fact it hadn't really hit me until relatively recently.  Mum will be 75 this year and despite her long struggle with cancer, it wasn't that long ago that she was still out walking along the cliff tops of Cornwall or in their local woodlands at a fair pace.  The fact that she is still with us four years on from diagnosis and major surgery is a credit to her.  Most people last about 18 months with her diagnosis.  As for dad, who will be 81 this year, he's not long stopped getting on the house roof to adjust tiles and climbing trees with chain saws.  To see and try to come to terms with both of them in their current state is the most upsetting and exhausting thing of all.  None of us expected this.

Whilst I was in Kent, the newest film from the creators of the award-winning documentary Cowspiracy was pre-released. What The Health exposes the collusion and corruption in government and big business that is costing us trillions, and keeping us sick.  As contributors to the crowd funding of this film, we got access to see the pre-release for free. Having witnessed my parents being pumped full of prescription drugs and being at the mercy of the medical profession, the timing of What The Health couldn't have been any more apt, shocking, moving, and personally influential at the same time.

Now I am by no means knocking the 'on the ground' NHS or medical profession in this country (we are very very fortunate to have such a system).  In terms of the care my parents have received, it has been extremely good. Neither am I holding my parents responsible for how things have turned out, or for continuing along the pathway of medical care they are currently on.  It is what it is and, despite offering various suggestions for potential improvements, their generation is unquestioningly dedicated to and trusting in the medical industry.  Most of us ultimately are to a certain extent, as much as some of us try and resist it

But I'm confused and I'm angry.  I'm angry that the world over we have a medical industry that seems to put profit before health, that teaches and promotes treatment over prevention, that prescribes drugs to combat the ill effects of other drugs and that is sponsored by profit seeking companies.  I'm confused by the way that many health care professionals go along with what the medical industry dictates.  I'm confused by the way that many medical charities concentrate their efforts on treatments and seemingly ignore prevention.  I'm scared by the amount of people, young and old, I've seen in the oncology departments I have had the displeasure of passing through recently. And I'm scared that these people have so much trust in what is being done to them without question.  Blind fear and denial has many of us sleep walking to our deaths.  Sure a lot of health advances have been made, but that doesn't mean that there is not something uncomfortably wrong with the 'following the money' course the mainstream medical industry seems to be increasingly deluded on.  

Part of the reason for being vegan is to do the best I can to try and prevent harm to myself as much as to other beings and the environment.  Prevention; surely we all want that right?  Well no actually, an awful lot of people don't seem to, or rather are taught not to.  Instead we are taught that your only chance is to take this expensive drug or give money to that charity who will then use that money to try and research a drug which will 'wave a magic wand' and cure the evil of disease.  Well, I feel a lot of dis-ease about the two 'elephants' called 'Prevention' and 'Nutrition' that sit in the room of the medical industry and charities but still continue to be ignored.  What The Health puts a spot light on those 'elephants' and more importantly the industry that chooses to ignore them.

Seeing my parents as they now are, and seeing What the Health has not only enforced my reasons for being vegan, but it has also made me think even more about whether I am doing enough to keep myself as healthy as possible.  Ask yourself why we have a health system that is neither teaching or encouraging people to take responsibility for themselves? How can that be happening on any level let alone on such a massive scale?  Nobody is completely immune from health issues but I'm determined to do my level best to stay out of a system whose end game is profit.  Even if I do end up in the system, I want to make damn sure I keep my eyes wide open to make sure my end game is not their profit. There may well be alternatives out there that are ignored purely because there is no profit to be made.

Please, if you get the chance, vegan or not, take a look at What The Health.  Ask yourself, who has the biggest stake in your continued good health and who gets to profit the most out of a sick population?  At the very least think about the issues being tackled here.  It is surely food for thought right?


  1. Indeed, oddly I'm listening to Michael Moore's "sicko" as I read your post!
    The NHS isn't bad for mending things like broken bones but, in my experiences, as far as medicine goes I'm not convinced they improve things much at all. Doctors have to use the pharmaceuticals they have spent years learning about and just reach for the MIMS... :(

  2. My mum has been battling this for ages, from her point of view, and has recently extended her belief in prevention and health rather than cure and disease by becoming plant based. I cannot imagine losing my parents to the whims of a system that preys on the sickest and most vulnerable and feeds them lies about their own innate power over their own bodies and thus their own health. Knowledge it seems it privileged and also ridiculed by the bastions of our Medical Services and Health Services and Industries. This film is of its' time and long awaited ..its never too late to take control of one's own health and destiny, even if, ultimately the healing is facing your own mortality.