Friday, April 12, 2013

Hindsight



I was thinking about this yesterday before I had taken a peek at the prompt for today. Before getting sick, I didn't realize that being a patient was more than being sick and taking medicine. It's a type of lifestyle.

What I Thought It Meant To Be A Patient: Pre-Lupus

When you're healthy, you think that sick people go to doctors, be sick, and then doctors fix them. It's a passive experience. The only thing you need to do is get to the doctor and take whatever they give you. It's how the media portrays it, too. You get sick or injured, you go to the doctor, they fix you. And if they can't fix you, then you die. That was my impression. I didn't know there are so many things doctors can't cure. I was pretty sure only HIV/AIDS and stuff you were born with weren't curable.

What It Really Means To Be A Patient

You actually have to do stuff as a patient. What? Seriously? I thought being sick was enough. Now they're telling me I have to participate! Someone has seriously been feeding me the wrong info for a long time.

Of course I could take the passive route in patient-hood. Show up for appointments, let the doctor control my health, take my medicine only if I feel like it. It takes little effort to be this kind of patient.

But that is no way to get healthy. It's like school. You can take the passive route. Showing up for class when you feel like, doing homework and studying only when you want to, and letting other people choose what classes you are going to take. Unless you make changes, that is a sure-fire way of getting nowhere. And the same goes for your health.

Angry Bull by Sebastian Fissore
You must grab the health bull by the horns. You are in charge of the steering. Who says the bull gets to be in charge? Occasionally it might drag you in some direction you don't want to go, but you have to redirect that crazy animal where it needs to be.

How Do You Do That?

Become that one student in school who kisses ass and is always doing extra credit. You know, that one kid who annoyed the rest of the class because they made everyone look bad. That's you now. You are that ass-kissing-extra-credit student. Take an interest in your health.

Learn what's going on in your body. Monitor your symptoms so you notice changes. And work to improve your health, not just through prescription drugs. This means improving your diet, getting whatever exercise you can (I mean, there are even exercise programs for people with arthritis), and lowering stress levels (something I still need to work on). When your body is as healthy as it can be, it has an easier time dealing with all of the problems that come from chronic illnesses, like Lupus.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to take a more active role in their health?

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