A Blog About Life: Hopes Restored – Spirits Lifted – Enthusiam Renewed
How long should someone be sick?
What period of time is reasonable to have an illness?
We get restless and resentful when our normal routine is interrupted by the flu or a sprained ankle or any other physical disruption. We are a society of fast-forward, hectic pace people, who get our beverage and meal on the fly threw a drive-by. We got things to do. Places we need to be. There’s no time to be sick. And if we’re laid up for two weeks, forget-about-it, our heads will explode!!
Those of us who are always doing something (myself included) have difficulty sitting in one place unless we’re sleeping. So any medical ailment is viewed as something treading on our freedom and responsibilities. But here’s the thing. Our brain is really chummy with all our organs, ligaments, blood, and bones. Our brain knows all our cells by their names! Our brain is the bodyguard. When something isn’t working right, say, in the small bowel, the brain is the first to know and then it tells you how long it’s going to take for the repairs. And instead of being stubborn and defiant, listen to what your brain and body are telling you. Rest, see a doctor, restore yourself, watch Cheers re-runs or Home Improvement.
In The Anatomy of an Illness: As Perceived by the Patient, Norman Cousins, a journalist, professor, and editor-in-chief, tells of being hospitalized with a rare, crippling disease. When he was diagnosed as incurable in the late 1980s, Cousins checked out of the hospital. Aware of the harmful effects that negative emotions can have on the body, Cousins reasoned the reverse was true. So he borrowed a movie projector and prescribed his own treatment, consisting of Marx Brothers films and old “Candid Camera” reruns. It didn’t take long for him to discover that 10 minutes of laughter provided two hours of pain free sleep.
Amazingly, his debilitating disease was eventually reversed. After the account of his victory appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, Cousins received more than 3000 letters from appreciative physicians throughout the world. Cousins also served as Adjunct Professor of Medical Humanities for the School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he did research on the biochemistry of human emotions, which he long believed were the key to human beings’ success in fighting illness. It was a belief he maintained even as he battled heart disease, which he fought both by taking massive doses of Vitamin C and, according to him, by training himself to laugh. He died of heart failure on November 30, 1990, in Los Angeles, California, having survived years longer than his doctors predicted: 10 years after his first heart attack, 26 years after his collagen illness, and 36 years after his doctors first diagnosed his heart disease.
The body heals faster when we listen to it and when we have a good attitude about taking time for those repairs.