Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Body Awareness

I have noticed through the years that when people get sick they always seem to panic and over dramatize their ailments. Everyone does it at some point in time. During the summer of 2009 SD got bitten by a wasp in the park where we stopped for lunch on our way back from our Great Gathering workshop. Her reaction was so in proportionate to the actual situation that it attracted everyone’s attention. She must have swore at the wasp for a good 5 minutes. The next day she went to a community fair where she walked all day. By Monday her toe was swollen with yellow pus. Rather than showing us her foot and getting our opinion SD rushed to the nearest medical clinic. She didn’t go into work and waited five hours to be told by the doctor “that she couldn’t diagnose the issue because she had no idea what she was looking at; but antibiotics would most definitely do the trick.” When SD finally came back home and showed us her foot I couldn’t help but shake my head with disbelief. How could any physician give 500mg of penicillin twice a day for an obvious blister?

SD was ready to take the medication because for some strange reason she had convinced herself that if she didn’t she would loose her foot to gangrene. It took me a few hours to tell her that she was no where close to even loosing a nail. I had to explain to her the difference between gangrene, an infection and a blister. Finally, I asked SD to wait two days before she took the antibiotics.

“Believe me,” I said to her with all of the confidence in the World, “in two days your foot will be fine. Give your body a chance to take care of the blister on its own.”

I also explained to SD that if she took the pills she would trigger intestinal issues that were completely unnecessary. 500 mg of penicillin twice a day was over kill. SD followed my advice and two days later, she showed us that her toe was totally healed. For months I wondered how the clinic physician could have made such a mistake and prescribed antibiotics for a blister. If a bunch of alleged laymen could diagnose the situation how come this doctor couldn’t? How many people go to the doctors every day and blindly follow what they are told? Lots of people are quick to complain or to share their horror medical stories; but very little will give the advice to calm down, stop the panic, get informed, and don’t be afraid for a second opinion if what you are being told doesn’t make sense or doesn’t support some of the information you’ve researched.

Recently GP’s dad was admitted to the Hospital. He went in for a routine cardiogram and the next thing, he was at the emergency hooked up to machines and told that he would be staying for a few days under investigation. Everyone was worried and upset. After a few days he had gone through a batteries of tests which showed absolutely no abnormalities. Where on the first day the doctor explained that GP’s dad had coronary artery disease and would probably be needing a surgery, 8 days later the same doctor was letting GP Sr. go home with a perfect bill of health. How could that even be possible? GP’s mom told GP who was suspicious and sceptical from the start that “she didn’t want him to stir up trouble. They preferred to go through the tests and the hospital stay because they needed reassurance that all was OK.” Angry, GP explained to his parents that their behaviours and actions were driven by fears and that it made no sense to allow the medical doctors to abuse of their anxiety. “In truth,” GP stated “you could have triggered major issues just with the stress, fear and anxiety that the doctor insinuated unnecessarily.”

“Live your life fully and happily,” GP suggested, “can’t you guys do that? What do you spend so much time worrying about what could happen? And why run to the doctors with every little symptom?”

It’s amazing how people get worried and anxious quickly. We (humans) have become so out of touch with our bodies. I’m always surprised when I hear people speak about their illness as if they are quoting physicians rather than from a first hand perspective. Most of the time what patients share makes no sense at all. For starters most individuals are uninformed and have misunderstood their doctors. And since they didn’t do any research at all on their illness and haven’t taken a position where they are pro-active in their healing, they are over-exaggerating their issue and making it sound as if they are dying. People look for attention, sympathy and assistance rather than wanting healing. We unfortunately live in a society that teaches people to be dependent and adopt a fatalistic approach to anything that is about pain, disease and old age.

The shamanic perspective obviously refers to nature. There’s no way that anyone could get sick without seeing it coming. It’s again a matter of presence and discipline. I remember a few years ago, my son approached me one day with an unusual complaint that “he was feeling strange.” I remember asking him: “What does that mean?” It seemed like an out of the ordinary way to express one’s self. His reply was “I don’t know how to explain it; but I feel light headed and my stomach doesn’t feel the same as usual when I eat.” 48 hours later he had fever and was vomiting. On the aftermath he was so trilled with the fact that he had felt it coming. He told everyone that he had predicted the 3 day virus. From his perspective, he actually saw the bugs arrive in his system and watched them affect him. CT developed an understanding after this experience that he still refers to every now and again. He stated that there are no ailment, infection or virus that attacks our bodies without us knowing about it or without us giving it permission.

My kids are rarely sick and they both believe that one of the reasons why that is – is because they don’t “allow” bugs to settle in. They truly believe that they have some control over illnesses, viruses and ailments. If they are feeling horrible it’s because they chose to feel this way. They can enumerate a few dozen reasons why someone would chose to be sick and most of them are about learning, healing and growing. In many ways they understand illness as a kind of ally. Of course this is one out of 36 possible perspectives on the topic.

Personally I think that it’s important to take a big breath and calm down before making decisions that may affect the rest of your life. When it comes to illness it is so important to be well informed and to deal with our fears before making decisions. It’s not only about the illness and its treatment but it’s also about the process of healing. All can get affected by our anxieties.

P.S. The picture implies perspective. I'll be back to discuss this further I'm sure.


Wheelkeeper said...

Thanks for this post Lisa, it sure is something to think about.

Michelle said...

I had dinner with an old professor of mine on Tuesday night and she was talking about her illness how its affected her how she tires I listened to her story then asked her what she learned from it..She sat there for a bit and then said I learned to tell people who I love that I care about them. Ive written everyone I know a letter just in case this does take a turn for the worst. Her cortisol levels were the lowest any specialists have seen in North America..Her dr. told her she could die. It was an amazing dinner we ate a greek restaurant and I loved hearing all her stories from when she was a young woman taking on the world as she put it. Being a single mom to a special needs child having to have her daughter taken care of by another agency (high needs) She talked about not having grandchildren that her daughter can not have kids. She thanked me for listening to her and she said you helped me see things from a positive not a negative as I have been viewing my life these day's. I smiled and hugged her goodbye. She told me she's going to take a vacation with her daughter and her parents. I walked back to my hotel wondering how her story affected me. I called home and told everyone I loved them then I wrote a page of gratitude in my journal. This thread helped me see that we need to constantly look at the whole picture and not focus solely on things that may happen. Live Life take that deep breath...Loved your stories.

Fishrarr said...

I think that you are so right. This brings to mind the saying "Where your thoughts are, so your energy goes."
I also beieve that we sometimes over do things, with work, family, and life in general, that the body at times does not get enough rest or the right food, and it needs to take break. Being sick can give us chance to take a fresh look at the way we have been and make changes as necessary. I other words a wake-up call. Blessings, Tom.

Brenna said...

This blod post came at a great time. I took Finn to the vet last week and he told me his canine tooth is infected due to improper bite. His bottom teeth rub against the canines and has caused infection in one of them. He prescribed antibiotics to get the infection under control, but told me I'd need to take Finn in for a dental exam. Which would involve putting him under with anesthetic (which is dangerous) and possibly removing teeth.
I said, the appointment. But I haven't felt good about it since. Finn is 4 and has beautiful teeth. He eats well and doesn't act as though it bothers him at all. His breath just smells seriously horrific. Hence why I worried about infection.
A few days ago I found out that this vet tells EVERYbody that they need to take their dogs in for dentals. So now I'm going to cancel the appointment and find another vet for a second opinion.
I don't want Finn to loose any teeth until he's an old old man. And even then. Its hard to trust vets and doctors because I don't really know anything about animal health and such. All I know is my guts don't want me to let Finn go under anesthesia.

Wapeyit Malsom said...


Lucky was 13 years old when she went in for some dental surgery. They removed 6 of her teeth and they had to give her some anestesia. Her liver was affected by the infection in her teeth. I think it's a good idea to get a second opinion especially if the vet recommends it to everyone. With Bella we pay more attention to her dental hygiene.

To everyone,

Thank you for sharing your stories and for showing me how my blog affects your lives.