Wednesday, February 24, 2010

3 retardants of healing

Once when I had had some surgery, a nurse asked me if I was nauseated or cold or in pain.  He said those are the three biggies that interfere with good healing. 

Hospitals now take pain very seriously.  They have reminders on the walls stating their pain policy and focus on lowering pain levels.  Subjective ratings, typically on a scale from 1 to 10 are recorded and considered all the time.  For children, they sometimes use pictures that range from a smiling face to a scrunched-up face in pain and ask which picture is most like what they currently feel.

Sometimes, before an operation, you are dressed in what seems to be a space suit.  After the operation, it is connected to an air system that blows warm air through the suit to keep your body warm.  Surgery rooms are somewhat chilly and the warmth of the suit is comforting and leads to better healing.  Us older people are famous for needing more heat.  Some nursing homes are kept at a higher temperature than is comfortable for younger people, especially visitors in the winter who come in wearing sweaters and long johns.

I guess there is information that there is some of separate mind or intelligence in our digestive systems.  I haven't read anything definitive on the subject but it makes sense to me that special detection and intelligence should be part of our food intake system.  We need nourishment and we don't want to be poisoned by biological or mineral agents that we can't handle.  Being nauseated can be quite arresting for one's attention.  It doesn't seem surprising that the body's discomfort with the digestion system might interfere with good healing.

I once read that we don't have to be cold if we can trap our body heat.  Thus, our clothing.  Ninety-eight degrees is more than we want around us most of the time so our actual need is for cooling, either rapidly or slowly.  No food or simple food or just liquids or water might assist in getting past nausea.  The many over-the-counter and more specialized pain medicines can help with pain levels.  I am not sure that we really need what might be called "healing" very often, although it is a word much used by therapists and the self-helpers.  Still, I remember the nurse's statement and try to watch out for cold, nausea and pain.

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