Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient

Amber August 30, 2012 Comp 112 03 Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient In “Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient” by Norman Cousins, the author discusses an illness he caught from a trip he took abroad, called malaise, a serious collagen disease of the connective tissue. This made it difficult for him to move his neck, and limbs. Norman discusses what type of treatment and tests they ran on him while in the hospital, commenting on how they sent four different departments to take his blood in one day.

Norman outlines how he became more involved on how the disease would be treated, as he says “If I was going to be one in five hundred, I had better be something more than a passive observer. ” (11) Norman describes how he once read about negative feelings having a negative effect on the body, he began wondering what would happen if he used positive feelings, how would that affect him and help to rebuild and strengthen his endocrine system to heal and recover from the disease.

He talks about some conditions that would have to be taken for him to use the positive feelings plan and it work properly, such as not taking the medication, and finding somewhere that would put him at ease in a happy place, for him to have happy and uplifting feelings. Norman shows how he began the process of healing, even before moving out of the hospital. He found that after watching only ten minutes of a humorous movie, he got two hours of pain free sleep; he would also have nurses read to him out of humor books.

Norman found that laughing and positive emotions did in fact affect the body’s chemistry, and enhance the system’s ability to fight off disease, or inflammation. I agree with the author, I would much prefer to be able to laugh and use positive feelings and a strong mind set to heal and recover from illness, instead of lying in a hospital bed with needles poking me everywhere and having my blood drawn every few hours or so.

I think this would personally, be a healthier and safer way of helping people recover from major diseases, instead of constantly having them drugged and numb; many people soon lose their will when they are in the hospital for long periods of time, such as cancer patients, many of them slowly begin to feel that going through tests and having to take different medicines will be all that comes out of their life, if they could do what Mr. Cousins did and use positive thinking, and laughing to help fight off the disease, I’m sure we would have healthier and happier patients.

The most important parts that I found in this article is how Mr. Cousins decided on his own that he wasn’t just going to lay there and have the doctors and nurses give him medications and take his blood, he was actively involved with his treatments and was able to put his own opinion into what happened to him. I think that people in society should be able to take control of their own lives and be actively involved, instead of just thinking the doctor can figure out what is wrong with them, because doctors are humans to and can make mistakes.

More people should have open conversations with their doctors and voice their opinions on what they think should happen to them, it is after all the patient’s body that will have to be worked on, not the doctors. Some points that were made, that don’t apply to society today are what worked for him personally to heal, not everyone can use the same remedy Mr. Cousins used to help him recover. Some people may need a “higher dosage” rather than just positive thinking and laughter, some people don’t always have the same body type, or be able to function as strongly as Mr.

Cousins did to help him recover, however many of the points that were made by him, I do agree with, I believe that in society today, people should be able to choose their own type of healing power to help the recover from sickness. There are many different types of people in our society, what works for one of us, may not be able to help another, just as what works for one, may be too much for you to handle.

The authors’ views differ from the views held in other cultures and societies by what we are taught from our ancestors and traditions; in some Asian cultures, it’s a tradition that they use herbal remedies and acupuncture to help heal sickness and disease. Just as other cultures use European herbals, Buddhist meditation, Native American sweat lodges, and sound healing, this includes Tibetan singing bowls, gonging, and drumming.

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