Telling It Like It Is…

There is a theological distinction made in healthcare between an illness and a disease. A disease is the physical abnormalities that causes your symptoms. An illness is the experience of living with the disease.   The disease can be quantified and observed— high blood pressure is defined by numbers, a cancer cell is seen under the microscope, a broken arm can be x-rayed.   An illness is lived. An illness is lived. But, unlike the disease, an illness cannot be medicated.

In the typical patient encounter a healthcare provider talks about the disease and the pt. talks about their illness. Disease are about facts, observation and repair. Illness is about family, feelings and fear. A surgeon worries about how to do the operation, the pt. worries about who will watch the kids while they are flat on their back for 2 weeks.

How did doctors become obsessed with disease? Two words—medical school. (of course what I say about medical school can to some degree be applied to nursing school, dental school, physical therapist school etc)

Doctor learn about disease almost exclusively — what germ cause this, what cell goes abnormal in cancer. In this process, the total person can get lost. As a provider in training, this reality is in my mind always and should be. There are too many things distracting me from treating both the illness and the disease.

As you explore this blog you will see some article about how a patient can use Health Spirituality to interact successfully with your health provider.

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