When Philosophies Collide
In order to have a better perspective of this case I think it would be of help to have some background information. This case is not about who has a deeper love and concern about the well being of Daniel. No one loves Daniel more – no one cares about Daniel more than Mary and me. This is a case about differing philosophies and of what course of action would really have been best for Daniel.
From the time that I was born, I began experiencing forceful, projectile vomiting. As I got old enough to eat solid food, it became worse. Food would get jammed up on the way down and build up painful pressure, and I would have to vomit to relieve the pressure. I was able to get enough food down to keep alive, but I was small and weak. My mother took me to medical doctor after medical doctor; only to have them tell her that nothing was physically wrong with me...some even had the audacity to tell her that it was psychological. When I was two years old my mother took me to a young chiropractor. He was a recent graduate – a young man in his early twenties – nevertheless a very intelligent man. He diagnosed the problem as a hiatal hernia and told mom she should return to the medical doctors and tell them, as it would probably require surgery to correct. Mom took me to the medical doctors, only to have them tell her that there was nothing wrong with me and she should stay away from chiropractors because they were "nothing but quacks".
When I was four years old, my mother took me to a very kindly medical doctor in Cardston, Alberta. He diagnosed me as having pyloric stenosis. He said it was something he had seen from time to time, and he was experienced at performing the corrective surgery. I was admitted to the hospital in Cardston for surgery. When I came to from the surgery I had large tubes down both nostrils that were installed for the purpose of pumping my stomach. It was a very, very unpleasant and painful experience for a four-year-old. After opening up my abdominal cavity, and cutting into the pyloric region of my stomach it was found that I did not have pyloric stenosis after all. It was a mis-diagnosis and the wrong surgery for my condition.
When I was five I received a booster shot of the DPT vaccine and had a reaction to it...and from that time forward I was severely allergic to horses and experienced severe asthma every time I came in inhalation contact with horse dander. This was especially problematic since I lived on a ranch and we had lots of horses and people who rode horses and spread horse dander all around. I often wondered, "why horses?...why not chickens, cows or pigs?...I loved horses. 20+ years later I stumbled onto some information that helped me to put two and two together. The pertussis component of the DPT vaccine is for an organism that attacks the lungs, of course – and the medium in which that organism is grown in the manufacture of the vaccine – is horse serum – not cow serum, pig serum, or chicken serum – but horse serum. Thanks to the DPT vaccine I was a boy who loved horses, who grew up on a ranch, with a severe asthmatic-allergic reaction to one of the things that I really loved – horses.
My severe asthmatic reaction to horses complicated and aggravated my other condition – because growing up on the ranch, it took us years to figure out how to keep me clear from the microscopic horse dander. For example putting clean sheets and pillowcases on a bed did not work. It was years before we discovered that freshly washed sheets and pillow case – and vacuuming the mattress and pillow were really what it took to rid a bed of horse dander – along with extensive vacuuming of the whole house, all the pillows and mattresses – and the person riding a horse needing to throw their clothes in the washing machine and jump in the shower. So I had many incidents and sleepless nights fighting for every breath with severe asthma from breathing in horse dander. When I personally rode a horse, I had to wear a respirator and then throw my clothes in the washing machine and jump in the tub. In that process I would still breathe in enough dander to have asthma by the time I was done...but I loved riding horses, and at least using that method I was relatively asthma free during the actual horse ride.
A hiatal hernia is a condition in which the upper portion of the stomach protrudes up through the hole in the diaphragm (the diaphragmatic hiatus) through which the esophagus is supposed to go...so part of the stomach is out of position – above the diaphragm instead of beneath it. In that position, clumps of food can often get trapped much like a logjam and cannot pass below the diaphragm through that hole or diaphragmatic hiatus into the lower portion of the stomach. Often, painful pressure would build and I would have to vomit to relieve the pressure.... now you combine that condition with frequent severe episodes of asthma and you are adding tremendous strain – a vastly over-working diaphragm – the muscle strain and tightness of the diaphragm compounding the situation and adding a large amount of increased stress to the pre-existing condition of the hiatal hernia. I began bleeding internally. I was vomiting black vomit (partially digested blood) and passing black stools (partially digested blood).
Later in the summer my mother was taking me to swimming lessons in Raymond. I was able to swim, but when it came to treading water, I just didn't have enough oomph to be able to do it. Mom took me to a medical doctor in Lethbridge. They checked my blood and told us I should be dead. They had never seen blood with numbers that low on a living person and were shocked that I could be so anemic and still be alive.
In actuality, while individual doctors will seldom come across a case of a living person with blood counts in those very low ranges – I have over the years come across professionals that have seen it. While an acute incident causing severe anemia over a short period of time will usually kill you, if it happens gradually over time, your body adjusts and compensates and you are able to function and stay alive with extremely low numbers – though in a weakened state. In fact I personally continued on with severe anemia – with numbers that defied medicine – for years – with the doctors trying everything they could think of – unsuccessfully –including failed surgery, blood transfusions and iron shots – but the effects of all those things were only temporary at best – and I continued to lose blood internally.
At the age of five I was admitted to Saint Mike's Hospital in Lethbridge where I received blood transfusions and numerous gigantic, painful iron shots. This was all unsuccessful and the underlying cause was not addressed.
As a six-year-old as I attended the first grade, it was not uncommon for me to miss a month of school at a time...as I continued with bouts in and out of the hospital, tests and x-rays. They x-rayed me just about into oblivion – including drinking the "radio-active milkshakes" – contrast fluoroscopy studies. Finally they came up with a diagnosis: hiatal hernia (...just what that young "quack chiropractor", without all the sophisticated equipment had concluded years ago.).
That winter at the age of six I was admitted to the University of Edmonton Hospital for extensive surgery that would open me up with a huge incision extending from under my left shoulder blade along my ribs, separating my ribs along their whole length and downward to my left upper abdominal quadrant. This huge opening opened me up and cut open my tissues to a great depth exposing most of my mid line and beyond of my inner abdominal cavity. This was a horrible experience for a six-year-old; there was a long, painful recovery – and the surgery was a complete failure. They had attempted to simply staple my stomach down at a lower position to other tissues in my thorax and abdominal cavity. These staples can be seen to this day on x-ray of that region. These staples simply ripped out, failing to hold the stomach down in proper position. The problem of getting food down continued and the internal bleeding continued – giving me blood-count numbers that defied medicine.
At the age of nine I underwent consultation with a renowned surgeon named Robert H Walker at the Calgary General Hospital. He was a kindly man – a stake president at the time – and married to one of the daughters of Ezra Taft Benson (the one that had a professional singing voice – Barbara if I remember correctly). I underwent numerous tests and studies, and he came up with a plan to go into the same incision again, to the interior of my thorax and abdominal area. He thought it would be successful using a different approach. With this surgery I was hospitalized for 7 weeks – had two tubes entering my body to keep my stomach contents pumped out – one on the left side below the massive incision and the other in the abdominal area. I was fed by IV to keep me alive. I was not allowed to eat anything for two weeks, nor drink anything for 5 days – a horrendous experience for a 9-year-old. I had complications of pneumonia and nosocomial (infection acquired in the hospital) antibiotic-resistant infection in my surgical wounds. It was a long, painful recovery – and had limited success.
By now our family had figured out ways to limit my exposure to horse dander – greatly diminishing the extra stress to my diaphragm and lessening the episodes of internal bleeding. That aspect had been continuing to lessen the stress to the area – and perhaps the surgery relieved some stress on the area – allowing the internal bleeding to improve – but the surgery was a failure as far as the proper repositioning of my stomach was concerned. If I became exposed to inhalation of horse dander in less controlled environments – i.e. staying over-night at a friends or relatives – with episodes of horse-dander-induced asthma from time to time – the bleeding would upon occasion return. There was still enough of a problem mechanically – that it was still very difficult to eat – even in upright, sitting or standing positions. I had learned to get more food down by now – by better controlling the speed at which I tried to eat – and the order in which I ate things – saving those foods more inclined to "jam me up" for last – and taking breaks if I got jammed up, so it would not cause too much pressure build-up. Using such techniques I was able to get substantially more food down – but eating was a real chore and it often took me four or five times longer to finish my meals than the rest of the family – and if I was not very careful, I would not be able to get the food down. The combination of learning how to get most of my food down – more of the time – and having learned how to limit severe asthmatic episodes from exposure to horse antigen – allowed me to gain strength – until I had good health and strength by the time I was about 12 years old. But it was still an extreme hassle and chore for me to eat in such a way so as to keep my food down – and if I was rushed – pressure would build and I wouldn't be able to eat more of the meal – would have to stop and over time what I had eaten thus far would go down, then I could resume. When I wasn’t careful enough, too much pressure would build and I would have to vomit to relieve the extreme pressure – and start all over again, this time trying to be more careful.
When I was 16 years old my father began experiencing the same problem with respect to eating. Pressure would build up inordinately and he would not be able to get his food down. He consulted with a different chiropractor from that earlier mentioned – that was more convenient to our location. This chiropractor diagnosed him as having a hiatal hernia and suggested a simple cure he could do at home to gently correct the mechanical problem of the improper positioning of his stomach in relation to his diaphragm. The cure was a simple, gentle correction to the mechanical problem induced by improper positioning of the stomach. The remedy was to upon waking in the morning with an empty stomach – to drink a large glass of water or two at room temperature – so as not to shock the stomach with cold or hot liquid – allowing the tissues to remain relaxed. Then with the weight of the water in the bottom of the stomach, he was to jostle up and down with short springy motions using his toes – to gently stretch the tissues and move the stomach down into it's rightful position. This worked for dad over a period of a month or two, and completely resolved the problem for Dad.
Soon after Dad began with that technique, I tried it too – and to my amazement it worked and resolved my problem as well – with the following qualifier – perhaps because of tissue damage, scar tissue of the failed surgeries – or perhaps because the opening in my diaphragm is larger than Dad's – I will still experience minor trouble from time to time – if lets say I strain myself in a bent over position, etc and get my stomach out of position. Upon occasion when I'm having any trouble – I employ that technique which brings my stomach down into proper position below my diaphragm and things work, as they should.
I have learned to limit exposure to horse dander, and usually go for years at a time without contacting it. Occasionally when in an uncontrolled environment where people have had horse dander around – i.e. a family reunion at my late grandparents, with numerous kids and other relatives riding horses and exercising less care – having asthma for a few days really tightens up my diaphragm and causes me a problem. I have under those circumstances had a little bleeding (black vomit and black stool – digested blood). This has happened two or three times, perhaps in the past 25 + years.
I have had remarkable strength and health and energy since I was about the age of sixteen.
After graduating from high school I worked for one year to save up enough money for my mission. I was called to the Netherlands/Amsterdam mission. After my mission I worked for two years to save up money for college. I attended Brigham Young University and took pre-chiropractic – the same science classes as pre-med only without all the general studies requirements – thus a two-year program. I then worked for another year and saved up more money for college. I attended Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Oregon – a four-year program. I received my doctorate degree in chiropractic and became a chiropractic physician, a rigorous program which included extensive training aimed at getting people well – with the philosophy that the body is more intelligent than we – and in many instances is better served with working with that innate intelligence – through the correction of underlying problems, by gentle means – allowing the body to gain homeostasis and proper function, health and vitality – without the use of harsh medical interventions where feasible.
Combined with all my past experiences and that philosophy – is the fact that in my life beginning in the years just prior to my mission, during my mission and in the years since my mission – I have personally experienced several miraculous experiences through fasting, prayer and the healing power of the priesthood…
...additionally in the years that I practiced as a licensed chiropractic physician (for about five years) I had many patients who came to me – whose cases were medical failures – as far as they were concerned...often after having extensively pursued medical courses of treatment – often having spent countless thousands of dollars with various kinds of medical doctors all the way up to and including neurologists and endocrinologists and other specialists. There were many instances where the gentle approaches, which I was trained to employ, got those people well.
If I thought someone could be better helped by a medical doctor or specialist than by me, I would refer him or her. For example, if someone was beyond a certain point – where I thought they would be better served by medical attention – such as spinal surgery – even though there is a very high failure rate for many types of spinal surgery, and an even higher failure rate for second and third surgeries – I would refer them to a neurosurgeon whom I thought was one of the best. Another example is a case in which a family was involved in a car accident. Upon doing an orthopedic test on the husband’s injured knee, it tested positive for a disruption or tearing of the medial collateral ligament and medial meniscus (cartilage in the knee). I felt that was the diagnosis, I referred him to the hospital for an MRI – which confirmed the diagnosis and I referred him to an orthopedic surgeon whom I felt was a good surgeon. I continued to treat him for his other injuries that I felt I could help him with.
I had a philosophy that if you could get well by gentle and natural means – without the use of drugs or surgery, where I deemed it the best approach – and barring extreme trauma or other situations where heroic measures were required – so much the better. Before pounding something with a sledgehammer, if it would work – a small rubber mallet was preferred.
Here are a couple of examples out of many, which will give you an idea as to some of my experiences. One of my patients who was an educated, intelligent woman who had a masters degree in speech therapy came to me for treatment of her spinal-related conditions which rapidly resolved after years of failure using the medical approach. In the course of treatment she explained to me a problem that she had had for years with her ears – a constant fullness and congested feeling and diminished hearing ability. She had spent years and thousands of dollars for diagnostic tests including MRI and Neurological consultation -- and had been on decongestant medication for years without resolution of her condition. In Chiropractic College I had learned a simple procedure that worked on many people with that condition and I had helped several people with that condition. It was a simple procedure that took just a few minutes and cost $20 to perform. It involved a gentle treatment (but uncomfortable because it initiates the gag reflex and sometimes induces vomiting) that was mechanical in nature that tends to clear the opening of the eustachian tubes, which drain the middle ear and are located in the back of the throat. On the next visit she reported while driving home that very day after the treatment she could feel her middle ears draining and the problem was resolved...no more stopped up feeling in her ears, and her hearing was restored to normal – after all those years of taking the traditional medical approach which had failed.
Another case was a lady in my ward who was in very poor health – was having all kinds of problems including pituitary & thyroid gland trouble (as diagnosed by an endocrinologist). All the medical treatments and medications she had undergone over all those years proved to be ineffective. Among her other problems she reported having had a constant headache her entire life from the time she as a little girl got her neck caught in a bunk bed while falling out of the bed. She was barely functional, having been bed-ridden for most of her life (mid to late 30s as I recall). Her husband said he felt that he should bring her to me and asked if I would help him give her a priesthood blessing prior to her treatment. She reported having had these problems all these years from the time she was little when she had hurt her neck. She was yet another case of many that had been a medical intervention failure. I did my best to restore her spinal biomechanical motion and attendant neurological function and combined with the priesthood blessing she got well. In fact, with regard to her life-long headache – on the day of the first treatment she reported that she could feel her headache go away instantly with the first chiropractic adjustment delivered to a precise area in her neck – after all those years of failed medical intervention.
After five years of practice treating a lot of people that could not afford to pay, with poor insurance coverage for chiropractic; often getting people well quickly, so they wouldn’t have to pay me much; and in that environment working in an extremely saturated business environment – a town of 30,000 people – 16 chiropractors – of which I was one of the newest – I was finding it difficult making the kind of living for my family that I wanted to…so realizing there were plenty of chiropractors in the country – able to treat all the people that wanted to go to a chiropractor, I retained the knowledge and experiences and training I had gained – which have been of tremendous blessing and benefit to our family over the years – and pursued another course of making a living for my family.
Now we get to our precious Daniel and where philosophies collide.
What would really be best for Daniel? The approach that his dad a chiropractic physician would take – or the approach that the traditional medical profession would take?
It took us a while to realize that Daniel had a problem. All of our previous children had spit up their mom's milk to some degree – but they thrived. Daniel seemed to be spitting up more from the beginning but that is kind of hard to measure and I was not in a position to observe this much with my 62.5 hour per week work schedule combined with my church-related-responsibilities. But by the time that Daniel was about 4 months old it was very apparent that he had a problem and had been keeping not nearly enough of his Mom's milk down. Around this time the flu had also been circulating in our family – which gunked up our lungs. This further aggravated Daniel’s already weakened condition – causing him to cough and choke and lose even more of his Mom's good milk. It was at this point that Daniel was at his weakest point. The extra stress was increasing the bilirubin in his body and his color looked very bad. At this time I gave Daniel a priesthood blessing. At this time I received inspiration about keeping Daniel in an inclined position at all times. We rigged up ways to do that until a high density, large wedge-shaped pillow arrived that we had ordered – which Mary and the baby could both fit on – so that they would be in an inclined position all night – instead of flat. This was also employed when changing him so that he would not have to be flat on his back.
I thought it possible that he might have a hiatal hernia – but I thought it more likely – since being inclined improved his ability to keep food down – that he probably had a weakened, underdeveloped esophageal sphincter muscle – which would allow food to back up, choke and gag him and cause him to vomit. Being in an inclined position improved things, but I was not happy with the rate of speed at which he was making progress. I decided that our family needed to call down more of the power of heaven to aid in Daniel's recovery. So about two weeks after the initial priesthood blessing, our family had a special fast. Whitney, Kelsi and Alan were good enough to fast with me. (Zachary is only five and Mary was of course nursing the baby). At the end of our fast and special family prayer for Daniel, I gave him another priesthood blessing. This time I could feel the power of the Spirit very strongly and I knew that Daniel would be healed. In fact from this time forward Daniel's problem of not keeping his food down was resolved. He began keeping almost all of his food down and over the next two weeks we noticed a great improvement. He was gaining strength, gaining weight (about ½ a pound per week) and was beginning to look much better. He still looked bad – but not nearly as bad as at the time of his first priesthood blessing.
But time had run out and we were now compelled to do something I believed from numerous personal experiences could prove to be very hard on Daniel...and this has indeed proven to be the case. Daniel would have been so much better off the past two weeks if he had been left at home in a peaceful, serene environment, at his mothers breast – unmolested by many harsh approaches which proved to be a great hinderment to his well being and progress.
We were now in the medical doctor’s environment and had not much choice but to do things their way. I do not blame them. They were courteous and kind – doing what they thought best for Daniel – according to their philosophies and training.
Of course they did not believe that Daniel’s underlying problem of not being able to keep his mother’s milk down had been resolved two weeks prior with the power of a special family fast, prayer and the healing power of the priesthood. They also did not believe in the nutritive power of Mary's milk and her ability to produce as much as was needed.
We believe what would have been best for Daniel, would have been to be left alone at home in a peaceful and serene environment at his mother’s breast – drinking as much as he wanted, whenever he wanted – and being allowed to sleep as much as he needed – but it was not to be – and this is when things started to get very unpleasant for Daniel.
Daniel was in stable condition upon arrival to Primary Children’s Medical Center. His blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation levels were all excellent. A Basic Metabolic Panel showed nothing alarming as far as electrolytic balance was concerned. Some things were a little low, his phosphorus was low which is to be expected in someone who has been very undernourished – his blood calcium level was in normal limits. None of his electrolytes were low enough to cause Daniel to exhibit any clinical signs of insufficient electrolytes in his system.
He was not experiencing any so-called refeeding syndrome at this point (major shifting of electrolyte levels) – neither would he have – had we been allowed to continue the gentle approach we had been – of allowing his body to regain its normal health and strength. In fact, one of the things we learn from this experience is that the so-called refeeding syndrome is in fact an iatrogenic disease (doctor or medical intervention induced)...and I will demonstrate why that is so a little later. The so-called refeeding syndrome is something the medical profession has been trained to use as a reason to give – that starting to eat again after a period of malnutrition is dangerous because of a phenomena of dramatic electrolyte shifting – and so you have to do it in a hospital environment to be safe they say. But, again it is an iatrogenic disease – medical intervention induced...which I will demonstrate.
Then came the hematocrit test, which came in at 10. This really frightened the doctors. It did not frighten me based on my personal experience and knowledge in such matters – see above. In fact I think that Daniel's hematocrit had been even lower and was trending up now that he was keeping his mother's milk down – and I believe would have attained a normal level within a month or so. In fact if you look at the lab results you can see that by mid-morning the next day – it had trended up by two points. (This was before the blood transfusion, which was done in the afternoon.)
I wasn't crazy about Daniel receiving a blood transfusion because of the risks associated, but I went along with it. At home he would have been better off without it. In the hospital, maybe it's a good thing that he received it, because with the dozens of blood draws that would follow for the countless lab tests he was subjected to, the hospital wound up taking a lot more blood from Daniel's little body than the blood transfusion had given.
Next came the beginning of the IV infusions – the cause of the so-called refeeding syndrome – trying to force lab result numbers to what is considered normal on a body that is not in a normal state. This is when the dramatic electrolytic shifting began to take place. I'll get back to that a little later.
On the third day after Daniel had been deprived of sleep almost constantly having been disturbed at every waking hour – often multiple times an hour – and already having undergone very many painful, disturbing venous blood draws for the constant lab tests that were being performed – Daniel was taken from his mother’s breast – yet another traumatic and very unpleasant experience for him. When the lactation specialist came in to observe Daniel breast-feeding, he was so exhausted he fell asleep – so he did not receive a good report. When the milk was quantified by weighing Daniel after feedings it was not that great. That should not be surprising, however considering the fact that both mom and baby were exhausted – their feeding and eating patterns greatly altered – both mom and baby under a tremendous amount of stress – in a foreign environment.
Next came force-feeding with a tube down Daniel’s nose – with man-made substances that we felt were not nearly as good for the baby as his mother’s milk.
Four days in, Dr Lamb expressed a deep concern that Daniel might have some serious disease because his platelet count was plummeting. She said she would put the Hematology team and the Endocrinology team on Daniel’s case. (We already had a whole team of doctors working on Daniel – Dr Lamb the attending physician – and several interns and residents.) I pointed out to Dr Lamb that his platelet count was normal when we checked in – so something must have happened here in the past 4 days to cause them to change. I pointed out that he had by now already had 30 or 35 blood draws – and often with 2 or 3 failed attempts for many of the draws. His veins were thrashed. He had so many needle marks and bruising and hemorrhaging under the skin from all those blood draws. Platelets are used in the repairing of blood vessels. There was a lot of blood vessel damage in Daniel’s body that he was repairing. I told her that if you will minimize the blood draws his platelet count would go back up. Beginning the next day Daniel was subjected to only 2 blood draws per day – every 12 hours – a basic test to monitor electrolyte levels which took less blood and could be accomplished by one or two finger pricks or heel pokes. Within a few days Daniel’s platelet count was back to normal.
On the 3rd day is when the IV infusions began...trying to force numbers to a normal range on a body that was not in a normal state.
Daniel received 23 IV infusions in 8 days into his tiny circulatory system. Every time lab results came back, one of the doctors, or interns, or residents would look at those results and following standard medical protocol, observe that this or that number is below normal – and order an IV to bring it up.
We became very concerned at what all these fluids and substances going into his tiny circulatory system and body were doing to Daniel. He was getting rashy and his entire body was very edematous (puffy) from all those extra fluids in his interstitial tissues. Your body must be very careful to maintain the correct blood volume to maintain proper blood pressure – and all this extra volume had to go somewhere – it had gone into his tissues. (Daniel's weight gain on the scale had been impressive – but it began to become apparent that it was not a healthy weight gain. Much of his weight gain was a result of edematous tissue (fluid retention in his tissues)). Additionally, Daniel was about out of veins. He was about out of places to insert new IVs – and the IV sites would not last long because the type of IVs he was being infused with are corrosive to the vein walls, so the vein wall will not hold a seal around the catheter for long and it begins to leak. The doctors were encouraging us to have a central pic line installed. This involves inserting a catheter up the large vein in the upper arm, into the subclavian vein and into the superior vena cava – right next to the heart. You must undergo the risk of anesthesia, and risk possible complications such as improper placement of the catheter and septicemia (infection of the blood). The doctors encouraged us to have one installed – because you can extract venous blood any time you want from it – and you can continue to administer IVs indefinitely.
We had to put a stop to this. Using this approach Daniel's blood calcium numbers (which were normal upon admittance) would never be right and the damage to Daniel's body from the IVs would continue. According to standard medical protocol – trying to force non-normal numbers on a body that is not in a normal state – these IV infusions could have gone on for weeks or even months.
Mary and I felt that Daniel was being subjected to things that were doing him far more harm than good. We knew that had we been allowed to continue what we were doing, with Daniel keeping his mom's milk down after the priesthood blessing...if Daniel had been free to be at home in a peaceful and serene environment at his mother’s breast – he would have been so much better off – progress-wise and in every other way.
At some point during the first week I gave Daniel another priesthood blessing to protect him from all the harmful things he was being subjected to – and Mary and I began praying for God to open up a way for Daniel to be released from the hospital.
God provided a way – in Doctor Harlan – that became the attending physician the second week as the earlier doctor was transferred to a different assignment.
I really liked Dr Harlan from the first time we met. He was very kind and understanding and patient. He listened – and he considered what we had to say – even though the philosophies I was sharing with him were 180 degrees from his medical training and protocols.
This is how it came about that Daniel was taken off the IVs – even though his blood calcium was now low.
I told Dr Harlan that we were very concerned about what all those IV infusions were doing to Daniel's body. I told him that no one knew for sure what kind of an effect they were having – and the observable damage was becoming more and more apparent. I told him that his blood calcium levels were normal upon admittance. And it was all the things that had been done to him while we were here that were the cause of his calcium levels to be low. Every time he had been given a calcium IV, his numbers would be up right after the IV – then go right back down to 5.5. I told him that Daniel’s body was smarter than any of us – and knew just where his blood calcium levels had to be. His body was being flooded with calcium and he was excreting it through his urine as fast as he could – because his body was smart – and knew that for him, for optimal function, his blood calcium needed to be at 5.5 right now – not the normal range of 8+ – because of all the substances that had been added to his body. I told Dr Harlan that I was sure that if we would quit administering IVs, over time his blood calcium levels would return to normal. Dr Harlan was very reluctant because he was very concerned about the dangerous effects of hypocalcemia. I pointed out that the Merck Manual (Medical Doctor’s Bible) said that if there were clinical signs of hypocalcemia IVs are warranted – otherwise oral supplementation is usually adequate. Dr Harlan agreed to put a stop to the Ivs. At this point Daniel’s blood calcium level was 5.8 – had been in the 6s the day before – after his last Calcium Infusion.
The next day Daniel's blood calcium was down at 5.5 – right where it had been bottoming out. Dr Harlan was very concerned. He thought all the calcium was going to the bones and we needed to give him more. Then there was a phone call for Dr Harlan and he had to leave the room for 5 minutes. I prayed to God to help me explain it to Dr Harlan in a way that he would understand – and it came to me exactly what to say. When Dr Harlan came back into the room I told him that I knew exactly what was happening to Daniel’s blood calcium. I reminded him that for all of the thousands of precise functions that occur in the body, they must be done within a very strict PH range and one of the most important and fastest response methods that the body utilizes is either pulling calcium out of the bone to offset acidity, or excreting calcium through the urine to offset alkalinity. That way the body can rapidly maintain that strict PH balance that is necessary for all those functions to occur properly. That mechanism was so important that it took priority over lesser functions such as transport to the bones. I reminded Dr Harlan that Daniel’s body was smarter than either of us, and it knew where his blood calcium level needed to be right now for optimal function. I told Dr Harlan that all the substances that had been put in Daniel’s body must have made it too alkaline. In order to combat that abnormal increased alkalinity, Daniel’s body knew that his blood calcium needed to be at 5.5 right now. But if we would stop putting more IVs in him, as his body began to rid itself of those substances and the alkalinity began to decrease, his blood calcium levels would rise back up again to their normal level as Daniel’s body brought itself back to homeostasis.
Dr Harlan thought we should give Daniel albumin. He said he thought that that was why his body was so edematous (puffed up from fluid retaining tissues). I reminded Dr Harlan that 90% of blood calcium was bound to albumin (the remaining being ionized calcium – ready for use – with the albumin bound calcium acting as a reserve) – and since his body was shunting away so much calcium right now – and since 90% of that calcium was bound to albumin – it was only natural that the albumin levels would be lower right now. They were nice and high in earlier lab tests – in the lower range of normal now and would return back to their previous levels when his body did not have to keep shunting out calcium. I told Dr Harlan all the fluid in Daniel's tissues was a result of all the IV infusions and possibly compounded by his blood sugar levels having gone through the roof from all the dextrose in all the IVs. (Albumin supplementation is not like a simple vitamin supplementation. It is a special protein that your body makes just for you, in your blood – and there are associated risks and complications attributed to albumin supplementation.)
I am very grateful to Dr Harlan. He listened. He is a very kind, good, and humble man – and an excellent Doctor. I hope that perhaps some things that he learned from this case might possibly help him in his practice of medicine in the future – if the system allows him to start thinking outside the box.
The next day – day two of no more IVs Daniel's blood calcium had gone from 5.5 to somewhere in the sixes. (You won’t find that result in the basic BMP – that day a Comprehensive BMP had been performed and so you must go to that location in the lab records.) Dr Harlan was very pleased. He came into the room, and during his talk with us – in front of a couple of resident doctors he said, "Daniel's body is smart. He is returning to homeostasis.”
(In retrospect after first writing this – now that I have had a chance to read the doctors notes – it appears that from the notes – that Dr Harlan was not really buying what I was telling him. But at least he must have felt that there was some ring of truth and logic in what I had been telling him – enough to let us a put a stop to the IVs – even though Dr Harlan was very worried about the possible effects of hypocalcemia.)
Nevertheless, I will always be grateful to Dr Harlan – for his kind and gentle ways – his open mind – and his willingness to listen to me even though what I was telling him was flying in the face of all his medical interventionist training protocols and procedures.
The next day – day three of no more IVs Daniel’s blood calcium was at 7.8 – and we were to be released from the hospital the next day – because it was now deemed that Daniel was stable enough to go home. But remember, he was stable before he came – and the true instability – the so-called refeeding syndrome was iatrogenically induced (medical intervention induced)...and I'm very certain that if standard medical protocol would have continued – one of the team of doctors closely monitoring the lab results – and if seeing numbers he or she did not like – ordering up more IVs – if the IVs would have continued – his body would have remained in an overly alkaline state – and those calcium numbers would have just kept going back down without stabilizing. He could have been subjected to more and more harm from IV infusions for weeks.
The next day, day 14, the day of our release and day four of no more IVs, Daniel’s blood potassium was high. Dr Harlan was worried that it might keep going up. I told Dr Harlan what I felt was going on with Daniel’s potassium. You see, the day before – day 13 – the final day of weighing in the hospital (which is reflected in the notes as his discharge weight, but that is not really correct, because we finally got out of the hospital about 4:30 the next day and he had not been weighed on the actual discharge day)...but on day 13 for the first time Daniel’s weight went down. It probably went down again on our final day also, but was not documented. He had been delivering a lot of heavy urine diapers. His body had become more active at beginning to excrete all those extra interstitial fluids (edema). (In fact it would not surprise me if he continues to lose weight for a time then reaches a point of breaking even then starts to gain weight again, as the healthy tissue weight gain catches up to and surpasses his body’s transport out of all the improper fluids and substances in Daniel’s interstitial tissues (in-between the cells in the tissue outside the circulatory system – caused by all the IVs)). I reminded Dr Harlan that Daniel’s body was smart, and given his current non-normal state, his body knew best exactly where his blood potassium needed to be for optimal function. Same principle as before – but this time a different mechanism – the potassium pump mechanism used by the body to excrete interstitial fluids. That process uses extra potassium, and in his current state, Daniel’s body which was smarter than Dr Harlan and me – knew precisely where it wanted those potassium levels to be. I reminded Dr Harlan that the potassium pump mechanism is also the same principle that causes diabetics or people with congestive heart failure – who are on diuretics for their edema – to need to supplement extra potassium – because it is used in that potassium pump process for ridding edema from the tissues. I told Dr Harlan that it was natural for his blood potassium to be up right now – and as his body needed to use that potassium pump process less and less – as the edema was transported out of his body – his potassium levels would return to normal limits.
I did not mention this to Dr Harlan. But in Daniel’s case, because he needed extra available reserves of potassium for that anyway – and rather than have his calcium continue to make significant increases right now to maintain proper PH balance – his body knew it would be more efficient and optimal to let that strict PH range needed – be controlled more by the potassium now. The calcium levels today had only gone up from 7.8 to 7.9. As his body needs to use the potassium pumping mechanism less and less, you will most probably see those potassium levels go back down to normal and the blood calcium levels continue to rise.
Mother Nature and your body’s innate intelligence are very intelligent. That should be kept foremost in mind – and great care should be exercised in trying to force the body to do things it knows is not best for homeostasis in its current non-normal state.
We hope that this perspective may be of help.
Wednesday the 27th day of February, 2008
WhenPhilosophiesCollide.doc - in MSWord
Back to Daniel in the Lions Den .us (home page)