Friday, August 7, 2009

The Patient

Confused and boiling with a conflict of emotions, he steps inside the sanctuary of help -a physician's office. It is like stepping into a dark cave, he can see at a distance the glint of treasure and shafts of bright light but before him is a dark abyss. He cautiously steps forward and feels the edge of the precipice, as the echo of a pebble falling below reveals the depth. His mind reels, he finds his footing and figures out ways to cross the abyss to the promised future, but confusion prevents a resolute decision. 

Illness is dark, an embodiment of things gone awry. It collapses the horizon of productive possibilities into a narrow focus for survival. The patient walks in to see the physician and lays out his dilemma recollecting historical signs and symptom. After the evaluation is complete he sits and waits. The internal riot of his mind scrambling for answers and help. His eyes wide with anticipation, his throat dry from fear and his hands shaking in fine tremor staring at an empty void where future resides. 

The patient hears the diagnosis - a verdict of the trained professional - and his eyes remain in a blank stare. The words just seem to flow past his ears. No impact. His lips quiver holding back the deluge of anger, frustration and resignation - emotions of self preservation. 
The physician leans over and lays a hand of comfort, measuring reality of favored odds against the sea of troubles. He comforts with words and outlines a plan of action to circumnavigate the dark abyss. It is that quiver of smile the physician seeks, an understanding from his patient that all being said will be done for him and that optimism laced with reality will ease the passage to those distant shafts of light. The physician is patient and repeats the calming words until the glimmer of hope resettles on the anguished face of his patient. The taut muscles relax and the wide eyed glare dissolves into an understanding look.

Modern medicine maybe embroiled in a cascading sea of newer chemicals to ward off the darkness of disease but the archaic medicine of comfort, care and nurture allows the fragmented mind and tortured soul of the patient to accept that treatment successfully. This is the recipe for success. Another triumph in the making!

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