Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient

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August 30, 2012
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Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient
In “Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient” by Norman Cousins, the author discusses an illness he caught from a trip he took abroad, called malaise, a serious collagen disease of the connective tissue. This made it difficult for him to move his neck, and limbs. Norman discusses what type of treatment and tests they ran on him while in the hospital, commenting on how they sent four different departments to take his blood in one day. Norman outlines how he became more involved on how the disease would be treated, as he says “If I was going to be one in five hundred, I had better be something more than a passive observer.” (11) Norman describes how he once read about negative feelings having a negative effect on the body, he began wondering what would happen if he used positive feelings, how would that affect him and help to rebuild and strengthen his endocrine system to heal and recover from the disease. He talks about some conditions that would have to be taken for him to use the positive feelings plan and it work properly, such as not taking the medication, and finding somewhere that would put him at ease in a happy place, for him to have happy and uplifting feelings. Norman shows how he began the process of healing, even before moving out of the hospital. He found that after watching only ten minutes of a humorous movie, he got two hours of pain free sleep; he would also have nurses read to him out of humor books. Norman found that laughing and positive emotions did in fact affect the body’s chemistry, and enhance the system’s ability to fight off disease, or inflammation. I agree with the author, I would much prefer to be able to laugh and use positive feelings and a strong mind set to heal and recover from illness, instead of lying in a hospital bed with needles poking me everywhere and having my blood drawn every few hours or so. I think this would personally,...
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