Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Prevention is the Best Medicine

I have now been working at the hospital on the trauma floors for 4 months. Before I become so accustomed to what I see on a daily basis, I want to put in writing some thoughts.

NO good comes with drugs or alcohol. I am amazed everyday at work when I am performing chart reviews how many of my patients lives are forever altered for worse because of it. Falling/jumping out of balconies, playing chicken crossing the road, drunk driving - car or motorcycle, liver failure (and you just didn't notice you were becoming the same shade as an Oompa Loompa?), stabbings, shootings, beatings by any numerous blunt object- (brick, bat, etc), falling down the stairs... The list continues to grow every week. The outcome ranges from death, worse than death (alive but most would have chosen death instead of this outcome), alive with potential- but a long road of years of rehab, sacrifice, pain, hard work, and you'll never be the same, to broken but full recovery- and lesson not learned. But it isn't only their life- family, friends, and even hospital staff are all affected-and it spirals outward because frequently they cause harm upon others as well as themselves. Many times I have had to tune out the wailing sobs from family as they see their loved one for the first time "since" or last time "since".

So many resources go to cleaning up and caring for these PREVENTABLE tragedies that it boggles my mind. Easily millions upon millions of dollars and thousands upon thousands of hours every year. This has naturally led me to ponder how and where these resources could be utilized if we could give up those two vices. I am rendered speechless because there is sooo much good we could accomplish. I am in awe of the prophet Joseph, the Word of Wisdom and God. It is truly the path of happiness. I also understand better D&C 104:17 "The earth is full and there is enough and to spare."

I came across an archived Music and the Spoken Word that elegantly stated much of what I have been musing. Not just about alcohol and drugs but prevention of suffering in general. I would call it a philosophy on "How to Live". This is how I want to live- and gratefully- do live.

"There is much to be said concerning the process of prevention, but in general it should be said that it is less costly to prevent than it is to try to mend or correct or cure—to prevent disease; to prevent regrets; to prevent broken hearts and broken homes; to prevent bankruptcy and going too deeply into debt; to prevent the consequences that follow when we fail to do what we should do. We would well remember that men were meant to be healthy and happy, physically, mentally, morally. And what we think, what we do, what we eat and drink, what we learn, and how we live are all part of the process. And why deliberately do anything—ever—that we know we’ll be sorry for? Why run against the laws of life? against conscience? Why run headlong into ill health and unhappiness? Why not prevent all the mistakes and ill health and unhappiness we can? The science of medicine has taught us much—much more than we use. The rules of safety have taught us much more than we use. The experience of the past, the conventions of society, have taught us much more than we use or pay attention to. The commandments of God can teach us much, but now we try to tell ourselves they are outdated and old-fashioned. The best remedy is first to recognize causes rather than merely try to run away from consequences. If we don’t want the physical penalties and remorse of immorality, we’d better stay away from immorality. If we don’t want the embarrassment and difficulties of debt, we’d better not let ourselves be led more deeply into debt. If we don’t want ill health and unhappiness, we’d better do our best to learn to live the laws of health and happiness. Some things we simply cannot ignore without realizing results—and among them are the commandments, the laws of life, and the physical and moral facts. In the process of prevention we should face up to what we should do, more than what we wish we hadn’t done. And instead of trying so hard to teach our young people how to get out of some things, we well would teach them how not to get into them."

1 comment:

heidikins said...

This post is beautiful and inspiring. Thank you.