Posted by: 2in10 | 11/06/2010

“patient, heal thyself”

In the October 26, 2010 Wall Street Journal, I was drawn to the feature story “Patient, Heal Thyself” by Laura Landro on Page 1 of the Personal Journal. Landro reports that surgeries are becoming less difficult and stressful for patients. Many involve smaller incisions and no overnight stay. However, patients are responsible for more of their post-operative care, and not only changing dressings, monitoring their wounds for infection, and watching for blood clots.

Rehabilitation is in the patient’s hands, and being thorough and patient is important to a full recovery. Landro quotes investment banker Michael Noonan who had knee surgery this past April. Being responsible for so much of his own rehabilitation, he says, “was like taking a new baby home for the first time — you don’t really feel like you’re licensed to do it.”

I agree. Only the body can heal itself and the work it does is silent and in many ways invisible. Getting enough rest, eating well, and especially in the case of orthopedic surgery, following instructions about what to do and not to do, are very important. Like grieving, healing doesn’t happen overnight.

Colorectal surgeon Clifford Ko of UCLA is quoted: “The onus is really on patients to recognize if something is a problem…the recovery period is often as important as the procedure itself…” [my italics]

Be well,



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