I am a chiropractor in Minneapolis because my little brother is dead. He on his right side in his bed, the soles of his feet were blue black and his face was purple blue. His body was cold and hard and stiff. He was 33. Too young to die.
My brother broke his knee while skate boarding in junior high. What followed is a familiar tale in the medical industry. He was loaded up on addictive drugs and his adolescent brain was forever changed. My brother was forever more an opiate addict.
We did not have a chiropractor. My parents blindly followed the advice of the surgeon that continued to refill his drugs long past an acceptable point. No warning that these drugs were especially dangerous in children and adolescents, that their brain chemistry even more susceptible to addiction. There was no alternative suggested. My brother did not get massage to accelerate his healing and relieve his muscle pain. My brother did not get acupuncture for pain and to reestablish his chi. My brother did not get chiropractic on the surrounding joints to establish appropriate functions and reduce pain and inflammation. No pain and inflammation supplements were suggested, no cold laser, no detox were recommended. No real care was given to him from his doctors. He was given addictive drugs with refills and sent on his way.
His prescriptions became someone else’s prescriptions, then it progressed to heroin. In an effort to fix the catastrophe they had created they prescribed more addictive medication to wean him off the other garbage. He was given methadone and when he became addicted to that he was given suboxone which only accelerated the deterioration of his body, mind and soul
My last phone call to him he said he was going to go to bed early to get ready for Monday and his big week of work in front of him. We hung up the phone. He took his meds, ate some lasagna put on a Star Wars DVD and fell asleep. He never woke up. The molotov cocktail of drugs they prescribed him interacted and he stopped breathing. He didn’t show up at work the next day. My dad went into his house and found him in his bed.
What ensued was a whirlwind that nothing can prepare you for. No one is prepared to call 911, no one can be prepared for the county coroner to show up and put your brother in a black vinyl bag and haul his corpse away. No one can prepare you to read the autopsy report blaming medication interactions for the death of your little brother. No one can prepare you for telling your mother that her son is dead.
I believe I became a chiropractor as a 5 year old. When I was 5 years old, I was given atropine in an eye doctors office to try to correct my lazy eye. I started having problems breathing immediately. My mother, a nurse, suggested that I was having a reaction to the medication and the MD informed her that there were no allergies to this eye drop, that I was just being a brat and throwing a temper tantrum. He gave me more drops. I stopped breathing and my lips turned blue. Despite almost dying, this was a blessing. This early experience ingrained a deep seated fear, avoidance and loathing of pharmaceuticals. My distrust and disdain for Big Pharm has only increased daily throughout my life. The rampant disregard for human life and health in exchange for stock dividends and the almighty dollar disgusts me and infuriates me to an unmeasurable degree.
At a recent event we went to, they had us introduce us to each other using the format, who we are and what we did professionally. My answer was the same for both parts. I AM a chiropractor. If tomorrow my hands were chopped off and i never touched another person, I will still be a chiropractor. My purpose in my life is to lead people away from medication addiction and to the land of health.
Chiropractic is the world’s largest non drug prescribing health care system in the world. I have witnessed patients quit their reliance on drugs countless times as they take a stand and look for something better. As a young chiropractor I loved watching the deer in the headlight response patients gave me when I asked them during an exam, what their game plan was for getting off whatever they were on. No one ever had a game plan for getting off of any of it. Most had never even considered that the objective of Big Pharm was for them to take these pills every day for the rest of their lives. Leashed to the local drug dealing pharmacy and chained to Dr. Refill.
A decade later, I no longer enjoy the look of dumbfound from this question. It makes me sad- okay it mostly makes me mad, furious, spitting pissed. I know that my job as a leader is not to baffle my patients, but to show them their options, be a tour guide and lead them to the place where their body heals itself. You were not created to be sick. You are not sick because of a shortage of drugs. Your body can heal itself. Your body has innate intelligence. You can do better, I can do better, we all can do better.
Every person that I adjust after surgery is a win for me.
Every person that I keep from popping one less pill is a victory for me.
Every prescription not refilled is redemption for my brother dead.