Dr. Larry Zaroff's essay excerpted in my August 21st post highlights some key ideas about Healthy Survivorship.
- The disease or injury affects the body of only the patient; the illness affects the patient and all those who care about and for the patient.
- Being a healthcare professional doesn't make it easy to be a patient, let alone a Healthy Survivor.
- The effects of illness can make it difficult to act like one's usual self, which can contribute to unpleasant emotions such as anxiety, anger, grief and despair.
- The burden of support falls on patients' loved ones, which can lead patients to deny problems or refuse needed assistance, as well as contribute to patients' sense of guilt, anger and helplessness.
- Information technology can help disabled patients stay connected to society.
- Gratitude can calm unpleasant emotions.
What struck me most about the essay was that Dr. Zaroff had many advantages over the average patient.
- He'd enjoyed many decades of great joy in his work and play that no medical challenge could take away -- in contrast to, say, young physicians who haven't yet had the chance to experience the fruits of their years of study.
- As a professor of humanities, he was well-versed in philosophy of life that one might expect would give him a healthy perspective.
- His capable and devoted wife cared for him with loving-kindness.
And still he skirted despair.
With the demographic changes, what will happen to all the patients who don't have a Carolyn to care for them?