While our medical system is surely more advanced than it was four or five decades ago, getting ill and hospitalized today can be downright dangerous. While it's never fair to make a generalized statement like this, it nevertheless must be discussed because we all have only one life to live.
Our hospitals are full of patients who are either too sick or too unaware of the many dangers they may face during their stay. In the last five years, I have known too many individuals who have gone into the hospital for routine surgeries or procedures that either were released with something else wrong with them or never made it back home at all. This is quite disheartening for both the patients who survive a surgery and acquired an unrelated ailment in the hospital; or the families of patients who never saw their loved ones return home.
In my own circle of family and friends I have known too many sad endings to hospitalizations and thought I would share my thoughts in this lesson, regarding the medical process and why it pays to be a student of your own body. Just as we seem to neglect investing time and energy regarding our finances, we seem to do the same regarding our health. As I have always mentioned in many lessons and articles, is easier to learn from others experiences than to learn at the "School of Hard Knocks!" This definitely applies to our health and well being.
Too often we are faced with ailments that we don't have a clue about and subject ourselves to the medical process. We make an appointment to visit our Primary Care Doctor first for an opinion about our ailment. We usually find out very little from this physician who has an overbooked schedule, and is always running 30-60 minutes behind each patient's appointment time. This experience is similar to a quick church confession except you get a referral to a specialist after briefly listening to your story instead of a penance from a priest.
You can wait weeks or even months to get an appointment with a specialist who is also overbooked with patients. Now you have entered the testing and follow-up visit stage of your journey to figure out what's wrong with you. This stage can also last for weeks or even months before receiving an "Educated Guess" of what's possibly ailing you and what can be done about it. When you don't have a clue about your body, you are in for a frustrating ride through this medical process. You'll spend lots of time in the waiting room of medical labs and testing facilities because no one values your time. And you will get very few answers along the way from anyone, because everyone is afraid they will be sued by saying the wrong thing to you.
When you finally are diagnosed with whatever, you are usually steered toward some expensive procedure or surgery that may or may not work. You are told this many times in advance that nothing is perfect in medicine. You must sign releases letting everyone who will touch you off the hook in advance, making it clear that no one is really accountable if they happen to mess up. On the day of surgery, you enter the hospital with all good intentions, but have to deal with an environment where you become totally helpless. Infections and disease lurk in the entire building and you are at the mercy of an overworked staff of individuals who mean well, but are just worn out physically and mentally. You'll hear the complaints of the staff in the background noise, telling their co-workers that they are tired of working double shifts and feel under-appreciated and under-paid. These conversations are not very comforting to hear as a patient. After surgery, your recovery period is rarely pleasant. You are weak and helpless and just want to go home. If you are lucky, your surgery went well without any complications and your problem got solved. If you are unlucky, your worse nightmares are about to begin.
By now you can see that the option to educate yourself about your body can be a great one. Avoiding the expensive and often inefficient medical process can also save your life. Everyone needs to be proactive from an early age and learn about their bodies. The internet and libraries are full of information about every ailment and health issue imaginable. You need to talk to those older than you about the ailments they faced in life and learn from their experiences. You need to do all you can throughout life, to avoid ailments by eating right, exercising and practicing good health habits. The metaphor that "An Ounce of Prevention is worth a pound of Cure" is a wise statement.
Be a student of your body. You only get one body in life and you need to treat it like a temple rather than a rundown building that always needs repairs. There are times when we definitely need the medical process. The process should be used often for routine physical examinations and prevention. It should be used sparingly and only when necessary for hospital related services. My grandparents lived into their 80's and 90's without hospital stays. They ate well and practiced home remedies passed down through generations. Being a student of your body can prove to be a wonderful investment of your time.