Love in Health and Illness

I attended a white coat ceremony this past weekend.  No it was not a KKK meeting nor was it on the white house lawn.  It was the initiation of medical students in moving from the classroom to their start of training in practice with actual patients.  This has long been the practice of medical schools as a way to tell students that they have the ability to deal with patients under the management of their professional medical trainer.  It also allows patients that are in contact with these neophytes that they have had enough training to start the art of medicine.  I want go into the detail but was amazed to learn that the type of coat that you wear is a code for your level of training.

It was your typical moving on ceremony but one of the speakers gave the students some really great advice.  He went on to describe how he was a ‘very get it done’ type of medical practitioner.  He believed that the best thing that he could do for his patients was to determine the type of treatment needed and then deliver the procedures to them.  However, as he practiced he became more aware that healing was best delivered when he had the patients know that he understood their concerns and that he truly cared about their well being.  His advice to the students was to show their patients that they understood and truly cared about them.  Some may call this love.

1 Cor. 13:13 NIV “And now these three remain, faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these is love.

Studies have shown that mothers produce enormous amounts of oxytocin.  This is otherwise known as the love hormone.  New studies have shown that this same hormone is produced in persons that have skin to skin contact with another individual.  What is it about this closeness that causes our bodies to react?  I personally do not believe that you have to have the contact but just someone that is willing to listen to your complaints and react positively to you that they understand your ‘pain’ and truly care about you.  I know that this was the thing that I truly desired when I was in pain for all of those years.  I just wanted someone to hold me and tell me they cared.  I did not realized that this was actually shown in science to be an active form of treatment.

To show you how this works you may have heard of the study that was done sometime in the mid-twentieth century with lights and factory workers.  When the management decided to add increase lighting to the plant floor the productivity of the workers increased.  Strange enough when they went in and reduced the lighting to a lower level the productivity increased again.  The effect was not so much the light as it was that the workers knew by the presence of management that the management cared about their well being.  You may have also heard about a study that was done with babies where they were separated into two groups.  One group was held normally and cared for.  The other group was given minimal contact and the study was stopped after the first baby died from lack of personal contact and all the babies in the noncontact group were developing poor health.  It just sounds like common sense that we should be aware that this carries on into our adult life.  It has been shown that people with a strong support group such as a church that they have a healthier life as well as a longer life.

Know that I care about your health and that I understand your pain and the many chronic diseases that you may be developing or that you have from the years of being scared out of the sun.  It is with this love that I write to you as often as I possibly can so that you may be healed.

When scientific studies are now done, they are double blind, placebo controlled, large cohort so that the effect of love and care is subtracted from the procedure or substance that is being studied.  For your doctors to act with arrogance in that you do not know anything about what is going on in your body may be said about the doctors themselves.  Sometimes the placebo or love and care effect is much greater than the effect that is being studied.  So this professor giving the advice to the students is truly a wise man.

In care of concern for your health; know that I love you and this drives my purpose in writing this blog.

–          Pandemic Survivor

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