Blaming the Patient
Commenting on Food Triggers & Unrealistic Expectations, Kate responded to a part of Heal Your Headache that I skipped over. A part that makes my blood boil and fills me with shame for having put the book in my recommended list.
“Diets aside, I have a HUGE problem with Buchholz’s book. It’s Chapter Nine: ‘When Treatment Fails.’ In this chapter he speaks of ‘hidden agendas’ for treatment failure, such as ‘…when we reap the rewards from being in the sick role. When we’re sick, others give us their attention, concern, affection, sympathy, help, forgiveness, and permission to be excused from work and other responsibilities. As a neurologist friend of mine has noted, we all like having our pillows fluffed.’
“He states that ‘we all struggle with our identities,’ and suggests that the title of ‘headache patient’ gives us at least ‘SOME identity’ and ‘distinguishes’ us. Can you even imagine this??
“He goes on to put forth reasons that headaches are ‘hard to let go of,’ producing patients who ‘don’t try hard enough.’
“This is an outrage. And he is being touted as a ‘headache expert,’ was given an hour on Larry King Live, and patients everywhere are being given his book to read. And I wonder how many DOCTORS without enough headache training are using his book as a guide??
“Even worse, in the same chapter is a section entitled ‘The Trap of Disability Status.’ He states that no doctor should support long-term disability claims based on headache complaints. ‘The patient who walks out of a doctor’s office with a signed disability form is grateful and content, in contrast to the one who departs angrily with an unsigned form.’
“He states that he understands that we are suffering, but that we are suffering because we have never had PROPER treatment, such as his ‘1-2-3 Plan’ (which I can’t say has much in it that I haven’t heard before). He writes: ‘Disability is a trap: it guarantees that you’ll be complaining of headache until you choose to set yourself free.’ SET MYSELF FREE???
“Kerrie, is anyone else insulted by this?? When I walked out of my doctor’s office knowing I had to apply for disability, I was crying, not ‘content’ by any stretch. Having to stop working was horrifying, and produced NO rewards and certainly no improvement in my ‘sense of identity.’ Oh — and how about the big windfall of cash-flow that we pillow-fluffers on disability get to live on?? My-oh-my, sometimes I just don’t know what to do with ALL OF THIS MONEY!!! Guess I’ll just have to go out and buy some more fluffy pillows and bon-bons.
“Sounds like blaming the patient to ME, which is precisely what he chastised the medical establishment for doing at the opening of his book.
“I just don’t get why this book is getting so much acclaim. I don’t care HOW fabulous his dietary and rebound ideas are for some people; this is profoundly insulting, degrading, pompous, disrespectful, and bizarrely ignorant. I fear most for new patients who may read his book and, once again, look poorly on THEMSELVES when the Great Doctor’s big Plan doesn’t cure them.”