Honoring the Individual

When new patients make their appointments, they usually have many questions about how long they should plan to stay with us at GMA. Understandably, they get frustrated when we cannot answer those questions with any kind of specificity.

Here’s the problem: before we actually get a chance to take a patient’s history and examine them thoroughly, it really is not possible to formulate a therapeutic treatment program. Some patients insist that if we reviewed their massive medical records, in advance of their arrival, surely we could do that.

We can’t. Let me try to explain why.

First of all, it is illegal for any physician to make a diagnosis or treat a patient without a complete history and physical first.

That technicality notwithstanding, the complexity of our patients make it virtually impossible to design a treatment program without delving into the details of their medical lives first. Most of our patients are extremely complicated. They usually have some combination of Lyme disease with multiple co-infections, mold toxicity, allergies, chemical sensitivities, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic viral infections, coupled with a bewildering combination of other medical diagnoses.

If that wasn’t complicated enough, because of each person’s individual biochemistry and genetics, combined with the way they process stress and spiritual/emotional upheaval and cope with their illness, those named illness play out very differently for each individual patient. Our patients are far more sensitive to medications, supplements, homeopathics, chemicals and electromagnetic radiation than most; some exquisitely so.

The variability of that sensitivity is difficult for most people to grasp—-some of our most sensitive patients can take large amounts of antibiotics, but even the tiniest dose of a homeopathic remedy throws them completely out-of-kilter.

So, our task, when we begin the process of helping a new patient to heal, is not only to clarify the diagnosis (which is difficult enough), but to stratify those diagnoses into layers, attempting to identify with as much precision as possible, exactly which layer requires the most immediate attention and will lead to the most immediate benefits. Adding to this difficulty is that for each individual we must delve into their sensitivities so that we can determine not only what they need, initially, but how much they can handle, initially so that we can begin to make forward progress.

Alas, there is not a lot of science that will allow us to do this properly.

We have working for some time with a variety of diagnostic aids (electrodermal, kinesiological, and microscopic, for example) but those have never proven to be as accurate as we hope and need them to be to bring true precision to these important decisions.

We have therefore come to rely on our experience, our knowledge, and our own personal sensitivities to our patient’s descriptions to make these difficult decisions. As Dr. Gordon correctly describes this, “it is like pinning the tail on the donkey with a blindfold on, but we peek.”

When patients come to spend time with us, we cannot know in advance what they will need, or how they will react to our suggestions or treatments. Every day is new. At this moment I have the privilege of treating a number of delightful patients from Europe—-they have come a long way to see us, but every day they need to report to me how they responded to what I did yesterday, so I can formulate the treatment program for today. Those responses change from day to day, and so do my treatments. Although I may know what my first day’s treatment will consist of, their response will alter what we do next. I might start with one type of intravenous treatment and switch to another, or add another, or reduce the dose, or increase the dose, or add FSM or the LENS, or a wide variety of detoxification options—–all based on their response.

This description is a microcosm of the treatment program: a constantly shifting, changing response to each being as they begin or complete each phase of our program. That response requires that both the patient and the practitioner communicate as clearly as possible on a regular basis and that each is ready to re-think or change what we are doing as the clinical picture evolves. When we do this we find that the vast majority of the time good things happen (but not always on our time table).

Perhaps the best strategy, when making appointments, would be to book them as open-ended so that we will both have the flexibility to optimally respond to these changes.