How do you interpret illness?
Believe it or not, our mind may affect our health. For instance, you may be given the best medical treatment yet do not get well. How could this be possible? Research done by the Reverend Dr Robert Bayley in Los Angeles demonstrates how important this issue is.
A patient may believe that they are unwell because they are paying for their sins or have particular superstitions. Rev Bayley stresses how important it is for health providers to assess the situation with questions like ‘Do you want to get well?’ It could simply be that a patient believes they are too old and have given up. In my pharmacy, I have seen many cases whereby information that a health provider should have been aware of was withheld by a patient because they ‘didn’t want to trouble the Doctor.’ Of course, I took the opportunity to bridge the gap by contacting their health provider many times often without the patient even knowing. There were other times when I explained options to improve progress towards them getting a surgical operation even though they would say they ‘didn’t want to jump the queue’.
In another incident, a patient came into our pharmacy to buy cough mixture. I suggested the ‘ACE inhibitor’ medicine he was taking was the likely cause and asked if I could discuss this with his doctor. He declined, probably because he did not want to create a fuss, a situation we often encountered, especially with older patients. After he left the pharmacy, I decided to act in his best interest, and rang his doctor’s surgery. As the doctor was not available, I explained the situation to the nurse. Unbelievably, she told me to ‘Mind your own business as, the doctor is in charge.’ My response was that professional ethics require professionals like her to do things like looking out for common side effects like this one. I tell this story, not to denigrate professionals, as most are doing a good job, but to impress upon you that professionals do not always work in your best interest.