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Now that I am interested in maintaining my youthful experimental life and living longer and growing younger, there are things I think about and wish to share with you. This summer I have come into contact with many people who are having medical appointments or hospital stays for a great variety of illnesses.
My overall generalization about what I have heard from patient reports is the focus of this writing. Please allow me to say this. There is a serious disconnect between the patients and their medical experience.
I'll take my first illustration from my own field of psychological diseases like depression, anxiety, insomnia and that long list of addictions. For the patient who accepts the fact that there is a problem, they may confront the doctor like this: Here I am doctor, cure me.
I have observed that this patient's attitude is the same or even more so where internal medicine and hospitalization is involved. Patients express feelings of being shuffled around from one office or city to another without meaning or understanding. I have heard alienated statements like, "They took my gallbladder and they created this (other) problem."
It would be more accurate to say they took my gallbladder or my prostate gland and didn't do anything for my depression and anger.
The American Holistic Medical Association was organized in 1978 to bring together physicians and their patients in a more meaningful way. The AHMA is interested in more than removing body parts, injections and pills.
The word holistic simply means the whole person - body, mind and soul - goes to the medical doctor or hospital. The patient is more than a knee, lower back pain, prostate gland or lump in the breast.
Two years ago I attended a conference at the University of Kentucky led by Dr. Robert A. Anderson, author of the "Clinicians Guide to Holistic Medicine." I showed my copy of this book to a minister and he put his finger on the word holistic then snatched it away as if bitten by a snake.
These attitudes where the churches claim preeminent authority over the soul and the body is sent out to the doctor for repair like an old clock are completely out of step with the highest grades of medical care.
Anderson believes it is imperative to expend as much effort in establishing what kind of patient has a disease as establishing what kind of disease a patient has.
The ideal physician-patient relationship considers the needs, desires, awareness and insight of the patient as well as those of the physician.
I overheard a conservation between two doctors and a patient on the cardiac-care floor of North Florida Regional Hospital in Gainsville. The doctors came to consult with a difficult patient about how to prepare for a heart-bypass operation. The patient was a heavy smoker and the medical tests indicated the capacity of his lungs to function under the stress of the operation was low. The lungs usually fill with water for a few hours.
The doctors recommended the patient stop smoking for at least 60 days and go on medications, minerals, vitamins and a recommended diet. After 60 days of care he could be reevaluated for the operation.
The patient, a man about 60, became very angry. He told the doctors there were other hospitals and he would go to them and get the operation he wanted. Sometimes lack of insight and ignorance are deadly. He got on the phone and ordered his wife to come and check him out. I don't know any other part of the story or the doctors involved.
Another presenter at the U.K. conference was Dr. Huston Smith, now in his 80s, and author of "The World's Religious" a textbook for college students. Dr. Smith spoke on how belief systems can clearly have an impact on medical outcomes. He said, "The importance of positive attitudes and beliefs and the poisonous nature of pervasive negative emotions always affect healing and wellness."
Another very successful holistic medical professional is Dr. Deepah Chopra, author of "Grow Younger, Live Longer: 10 Steps To Reverse Aging" (2001). I bought and reread several times his first edition in 1993 of "Ageless Body, Timeless Mind: The Quantum Alternative To Growing Old" then I went to see him in 1996 when he came to Naples, Fla. Chopros' books, all 19 of them, are available through the Tell City-Perry County Public Library inter-library loan department. Go see Paul Sanders.
Chopra has 450 wellness centers around the world based on his flagship operation in La Jolla, Calif. Forbe's magazine lists his income as $30 million per year.
Larry King on CNN is just one of the thousands of people who abused their health in the 60s with everything and turned to Chopra to reverse the aging process after a heart operation. King has realized 20 years of additional good health and the birth of two sons after he cleaned up his act and married.
Holistic medicine is just this, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
The wise tell us, "To know a person's experience from the past, examine their body now. To know a person's body in the future, examine their experience now."
Dr. Frank Sandage, a Tell City native living in Florida, has been visiting his hometown since summer.