Doctors and Chronic Illness

Dear Reader,

A recent issue of Consumer Reports focused on doctors, what to look for in them, how to communicate with them, how people feel about theirs. One interesting statistic struck me: for those with chronic pain, only 53% (versus 79% overall) of patients said their doctor helped minimize their pain, and only 31% were highly satisfied with their doctor.  To which their expert made the astonishing conclusion, “‘For patients with chronic conditions, medical science can’t necessarily take away all of their suffering.'”

This strikes me as one of those “well, duh” statements. As a society, we have put our faith in medical science and its practitioners. But more and more lately, I feel like I and those I know are running up against the limits of it. Medicine has not nor will it ever be able to cure all of our diseases. There have been some wiped out. Others, like my daughter’s Type 1 Diabetes, can be treated and managed. The story of the discovery of insulin is a miraculous one in which children slowly wasting away were brought back from the brink of death. It is a heart-wrencher. I highly recommend reading it.

But for every great success, there are also other diseases which still plague us. And many which are becoming more prevalent despite our best efforts. To paraphrase Jesus (is that allowed?), “The sick will always be with us.”

Many people seem to be able to go a long time with the realization that all their aches and pains cannot be cured. But eventually, I think we all face it. Those dealing with chronic diseases and pain on a daily basis are well aware that their doctors cannot do everything or sometimes even much for them. We still look for answers and I don’t think that is a bad thing. But we need to acknowledge that our human wisdom is limited. There is only One who can take away all pain. And He will, but maybe not in this life.



One response to this post.

  1. i am also very thankful that insulin is one of the great medical breakthroughs of our time!
    I hope you and your family are going well. I haven’t been reading or commenting or blogging for that matter, very often lately.


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