Why Don’t They Just Take Something? Living in the Gap.
Why Don’t They Just Take Something? Living in the Gap — this pamphlet addresses why we assume the medical community must have a handle on a person’s condition when they are sick. Often people assume that an ill person is not recovering because they are not following doctor’s orders. Or worse, the individual fails to improve because he or she is not trying very hard to get well!
It is confusing when we meet someone who is in horrible pain or sick. As a result, we ask ourselves, “Why can’t they just take something for that?” It just does not make sense because if they really were trying, they would be better by now. Thus, we often ask them, “Have you tried this?” or “Have you tried that?”
Most of Us Fight Getting Sick and When we Do Get Sick, We Feel Like We Accomplish Something When We Get Well Soon
It is true most of us are not accustomed to the idea that an illness could be chronic. Usually, when we get sick, we go to the doctor and then get better. After all, we are way too busy to even think about missing a moment lying in bed… miserable. When we do feel a cold coming on, we cringe and yell, “I don’t have TIME to get sick!”
Accordingly, we call the doctor, begging for a prescription that will make it all go away and fast! We may only be down for a few hours or maybe even a few days, but we hate every moment of it! We whine and cry to those around us, moan in pain and panic as we watch the clock wasting away our precious time. Nonetheless, soon we are back on our feet and back on track. We quickly forget how horrible it was to have to put things aside, feel terrible and unable to do what we want to do.
Yes, we are a world that is accustomed to popping pills or vitamins and getting right back in the race. We believe determination can defeat anything, including a viral army. After all, we did not stay sick for long because we acted, had a positive attitude and by gosh, “we were not going to let any illness keep us down!”
Based on Our Own Ability to Get Well, Most of Us Assume Chronically Ill People are not Motivated to Get Better
Conversely, when we meet up with a person who has been sick or in pain for months or even years, we often assume they must be lazy or unmotivated, they must not want to work or they must not be doing what their doctor is telling them to do. Otherwise, wouldn’t they just take something and get better, just like we did when we were sick? Just about anything is treatable with modern medicine, isn’t it?
On the contrary, the truth is that many times the doctors do not even know what to do. Dr. Jeffrey Boyd (2001), a noted physician and author, wrote:
I am beginning to suspect that popular American culture is built upon the pipe dream that disease has been conquered by physicians, or will soon be conquered as soon as we figure out what all that DNA says. I’ve been a physician now for a quarter century, and let me assure you that is not how it looks from down here in the trenches. If this were a football game the score would be DISEASE 85 versus DOCTORS 15.
Medical Breakthroughs Might be Saving Lives While Increasing the Number of Chronically Ill
What about all of the recent “breakthroughs” in medicine? Aren’t we getting a handle on curing diseases and learning how to repair the human body? Well…yes and no. Many experts conclude the amount of people suffering from chronic illness is actually increasing, because of the improvements in medicine in the past two centuries.
The reason being, with past medical care many people with various illnesses and injuries would not have survived. Today, they are kept alive with drugs, surgeries, and treatments. Yet, for many, the improvements have not been sufficient to cure them or make them well enough to live without mild to debilitating symptoms. Dr. Boyd added:
The fundamental issue is that contemporary medicine is often able to delay death but not restore health, so that the more “breakthroughs of modern medicine” we have, the more sick people we have. I say this without sarcasm and without cynicism (2001).
Seriously Ill People May be Rescued from the Grave but Left to Cope with Serious Limitations
In other words, modern medicine may be extending the lives of millions, but many of these people are still left with limitations. Here is one example of how the medical community has learned how to save someone, but the person is still debilitated. Dr. Boyd explained:
In the old days if you had a severe head injury, you died of brain swelling. Starting a couple of decades ago, doctors learned how to prevent brain swelling, so that acute brain damage did not necessarily lead to death. But as a result of that “breakthrough of medicine” there is a large and rapidly growing number of Americans with Traumatic Brain Injury, most of whom are unable to return to the kind of work and lifestyle they had before, and many of whom are permanently disabled. Thus the more successful medicine is, the more sick people we have among us (2001).
This pamphlet digs into this dilemma and poses the question, “Isn’t it time for our society to realize that people with debilitating conditions are not weak and unassertive?” Instead, let us recognize their courage and strength for living a life of loss, struggle, and perseverance. After all, that is an incredible accomplishment in and of itself — an accomplishment most people will never know. IDA’s Why Don’t They Just Take Something pamphlet allows you to address this dilemma with family, friends, and co-workers. Available in packs of 25.