Archive for ottobre 2009


ottobre 9, 2009

We use the world “health” as a general abstract concept referred to an ideal situation. But if we look at individuals we have to admit that this concept is nearly useless.

A woman 83 years old has been completely medically checked up because a mental desease. Her body resulted full of health problems, but geriatricians, wisely, declared her phisically healthy in consideration of her age and avoided medical cures.

So, in terms of individual health, we have always to correlate laboratory analysis with the true, living person. A men had to renew his driver’s licence, so he had to submit to administrative medical visit. The visit showed an heart desease and the man couldn’t obtain the licence renewal. Also he started to think to be seriously ill and he become depressed. But six months later a check up revealed that his heart was again all right. What was happened? Simply that this man, just before the first visit, had dramatically divorced.

So, when we look at real, living woman or man, we have to consider which condition could be called health for her or him at the moment of observation. This is an obvious thing to say, but the patient mind is easily hypnotized in front of an analysis result; the good sense surrenders, and doctor’s responsability prevails.

So, we can state that individual health is not definable on the basis of an abstract concept, but that health is in some way  the person itself in a given moment of its life.

We can say that the above statement is only philosophic and that practically it doesn’t mean anityhing. But the philosophie influences the quality and the results of an action. A father presents his boy a rifle and teach him how to use it. The father’s philosophie can be: we have to know as soon as possible how to kill our enemies. Or it can be: guns are dangerous, so it is better to know how they work in order to avoid accidents.

In our case, the philosophic statement that the individual health is the person itself means that, in front of people who ask for help because they are in pain, near by the ordinary mental attitude that push us to try to restore a situation of “health” we can put an other one: to bring people to live fully in “their” health.

Apparently these attitudes seem almost the same, as the results seem similar, but let me look at them more deeply.

Mrs Mary, 70 years old, has been getting asthma worse and worse since 50 and she is very depressed. Because asthma, she mooves very little, her muscles are weak, she lies in bed half the day long looking at TV and dozing. She is never tired enough and suffers of insomnia. Moreover articulations, standing still, are painful, and, because the bad posture in bed looking at TV, cervicals are compromised.

Mrs Mary is not healthy because has five illnesses: asthma, muscles insufficiency, insomnia, arthritis and psychological disorders to be cured. So Mrs Mary has oxygene and soporifics near by her pillows, a physiotherapist and a psycolog coming every week, cortison infiltrations in the moments of unendurable pain, and a little something more for collateral effects.

All her doctors do their best to restore Mrs Mary’s health, every illness is under control. But anyway there is something irreversible in asthma and arthritis, so nobody can think seriously that Mrs Mary’ health is completely restorable: Mrs Mary will remain in any case an ill woman. In effect the governement sanitary bureau recognizes to her an 80% invalidity.

One doctor, in these 20 years, has been saying  something different to Mrs Mary:

–         Your older friend Mr John has got asthma like you, even worse. In windy days he can rather breath, and after a week of windy weather he is obliged to recover in hospital, or his heart will crack. But he likes his profession and absolutely doesn’t wont to stop working. So, for him asthma is only a problem to deal with, not a disease that makes him an invalid. Do like him. You have no special interests, but you are truly catholic. I prescribe you cultivate your soul: go on foot to the early Mass every day.

The mental attitude of this doctor is clear. On the pretext of religious practice he tried to bring Mrs Mary to live in “her” health, her deseases, so to speak, included.

This attitude doesn’t exclude the cure of an illness, but it is not centered on restoration of “health”, it is mostly interested on living fully in his own healty way, in spite of the presence of deseases.