Updated: Nov 20, 2020

The word “idiopathic” and the word “iatrogenic” are two medical terms I learned late in life. “Idiopathic” means nobody knows what the hell causes it. “Iatrogenic” means it was caused by something to do with the medical system.

I had to go up to the UVM Medical Center the other day to get an ultrasound of my liver and a blood draw to see how said liver is doing. I had Hep C for a good 35 years which was neither idiopathic nor iatrogenic. Hep C is a virus which I caught somewhere in my feckless youth. The $85,000 treatment that killed the virus poleaxed me and sent me to bed for two weeks and my eyesight has been slightly weird ever since. That was iatrogenic but well worth the cost.

I know a lot about alternative medicine. I prefer it to allopathic medicine because I worry that a pharmaceutical will change something drastic in my biochemical processes and mess with all the down-line reactions. That will cause some iatrogenic stuff and the MDs will want to give me another drug to deal with that. It happens all the time.

But I don’t believe in throwing the baby out with the bathwater. That $85,000 Harvoni (thankfully I was really poor at the time and the government paid for it) felt like somebody strong picked me up and shook me. But it sure put paid to that virus!

I have enormous respect for surgeons. The two hip replacements I had were the best thing that I ever did. I went from being in pain all the time and not being able to walk anywhere, to being just fine. When I did the surgeries, I took every drug they told me to, including the rat poison. Put yourself in the hands of skilled professionals and you should do what they say. The trick is to figure out if they are really skilled or not.

But up at the Medical Center, I have to ask myself, why is this place such a frigging palace? Burlington used to get by with just Mary Fletcher and the DeGoesbriand. There are a lot more sick people than there ever used to be! Most of these people are chronically ill, too. And most chronic illness is idiopathic. How much is iatrogenic, though, is a good question.

I know people are tired of me talking about the “M” word. My daughter even suggested I change the name of my company to something without the word “mercury “in it. It has become clear by now that I am engaged in some kind of arcane but legitimate endeavor but she wishes I could sound like less of a conspiracy theorist. Trouble is, I am not wrong and it is a conspiracy.

When Amalgam Illness was published 20 years ago, Andy Cutler wrote that he thought between 1 and 6% of the US population had enough mercury in their bodies to give them symptoms. Before he died, he had modified that to between 30 and 50%. Here in the States, the pharmaceutical companies are allowed to advertise on TV. Almost every drug flogged in these chirpy ads is for a condition that mercury can cause. The hospital is as enormous as an international airport. It has three or four levels in its parking garage and they are always packed to the gills with cars.