Editorial Note: This post continues from Better to Die RxISKing It. This plea for a Peoples’ Movement with those suffering adverse effects on drugs reporting them was the substance of a talk given a month ago to the International Society for Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry in Los Angeles.
Venus in furs
Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in Furs was published in 1870. It is about power. How an imbalance in power corrupts the relations between the sexes. If he has power, is the rational one, the risks and the irrationality are seen to lie in her. She ends up being seen as capricious, risky, borderline. The rich see the poor this way. The English saw the Irish this way. Doctors see patients this way.
The answer Sacher-Masoch said was to educate her and give her money. It was only when she was as well-educated and had as much power as him that the relations between the sexes would work.
My intimate poisoner
If medicine is about the magic of bringing a benefit out of a poisoning or a mutilation – See Better to Die RxISKing it (1) – you don’t want to imprison a relationship like this in a framework created for addicts without making sure that whoever holds the whip hand really understands dependence. Otherwise this is not a matrix in which you expect an intimate relationship between two people to thrive.
As with all decent relationships, the relationship between doctor and patient should be one of equals. This is particularly true in the modern era where because of the internet many of us know more about the condition we have or the treatment we are being put on than the doctor treating us. The idea of not working with us is crazy.
The problem however is that the pressure on a doctor is immense and they simply don’t realize it. No doctors get trained in how pharmaceutical companies market to them. None get trained in the art of third party buying. None know about Stockholm syndrome. Today’s doctors get annoyed when told that they are even less able to hear bad messages from patients then doctors once were.
They find it very difficult to grapple with adverse events. Their unconscious sends signals they find hard to read. Call it castration anxiety.
Snoopy in furs
This is where RxISK.org comes in.
All of the problems in the system can be seen when a patient visits a doctor and mentions that they are having an adverse event. Many doctors turn nasty at this point.
But this is also the place where you can find if your doctor is a good doctor, and the only place where we can unsettle Pharma.
This is the point behind RxISK which is about patients generating RxISK reports and bringing them to their doctors.
This is a point where people who are having experiences that are at present written out of reality can come together and solve problems that pharma has no interest to solve and make discoveries that doctors once used to make.
This is a point where we can find out the most important thing about a doctor today – whether they are open to the possibility that a treatment has caused a problem or not.
This is the point where we can quality mark doctors and direct others only to those doctors who are not listening impaired. In this way we can force all doctors to change.
This is the point where we can experience a Snoopy in Furs moment.
Wizard of Oz
Instead of a Fairy Tale, we need an anti-Fairy Tale, a Wizard of Oz story, where an average girl persuades average people that they have a heart and a backbone and a brain and that the guy behind the screen manipulating everything is himself a prisoner in need of rescuing.
The RxISK solution is to borrow from the Irish Land League which took shape just as Venus in Furs was being written. From this comes the phrase, Better to Die on your Feet than Live on your Knees, wrongly attributed by Wikipedia to Emil Zapata.
Although Better to Die on your Feet sounds violent, the Irish Land League was the origin of non-violent resistance. The Land League pioneered the Boycott, the hunger-strike, and refusing to do business with the English. Its driving force, Michael Davitt, was a founder of the British Labour Movement. Gandhi and Martin Luther-King took their inspiration from him.
The strategy wins – in the end, although its proponents don’t always make the Promised Land.
The equivalent today is not boycotting your doctor or the drugs he might hand out. Just the opposite – it involves bringing him a RxISK report and inviting him to engage with you, and help you make this a better drug by increasing our store of knowledge about it.