|Natural Remedy For Kidney Disease|
This blog has been a journey - each post a stepping-stone to broaden your knowledge of kidney disease and provide you with the tools you need to improve your physical well-being. This post, however, focuses on intangible qualities that are equally as important to the healing process as the physical component. In order to improve your health, you have to want to do it and have the belief that you can do it. It is that belief, that faith, that enables you to take that very important first step to getting better.
THE POWER OF CONNECTION
None of us are islands unto ourselves. We are connected with everything and everyone around us. Our bodies remain in balance because of the constant communication between all of our body systems and cells. Having an illness, especially one that requires hospitalization, is a time of extreme disconnection physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The illness not only causes imbalance and disharmony in the body, but the isolation from family and loved ones can also invoke feelings of despair. These negative feelings can hurt the healing process.
Norman Cousins, in his book Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient, said "The inevitable question arose in my mind: what about the positive emotions? If negative emotions produce negative chemical changes in the body, wouldn't the positive emotions produce positive chemical changes? Is it possible that love, hope, faith, laughter, confidence, and the will to live have therapeutic value? Do chemical changes occur only on the downside?"
When we feel connected, we change. We become more positive, more invigorated. People do better when family members and friends are present. I always request, if possible, that a family member be present when talking with a patient. Not only do they function as an extra set of eyes and ears concerning the medical aspects of care, but more importantly, they serve as a support system, a rock. People with CKD, especially in the advanced stages, are on an emotional and physical roller coaster due to the nature of the disease. Illness is a humbling experience for anybody, and no one should have to go through it alone.
THE POWER OF PRAYER
Many of us experience a need to feel connected with something higher than ourselves. While the connection with family and friends is important, this higher, spiritual connection is also vital in the healing process.
One night while on call, I was asked to urgently see a man who was very ill in the emergency room. He had a debilitating pneumonia, his blood pressure was low, he was in a state of shock, and his kidney function was worsening. He was so critically ill that he was soon transferred to the intensive care unit.
I went out to the waiting area to meet with his family and it was a positive but overwhelming experience. They were holding hands and were engaged in a communal prayer. When they finished, I introduced myself and explained to them the nature of their family member's illness. I was flabbergasted when they asked me to join them in prayer. I held hands with the family as each murmured a small prayer of healing. When it was finished, I was hugged by several members of the family, and they asked me to pray each day for their loved one.
In those tense early days in the ICU when the patient's condition was grave - when the pneumonia that ravaged his body was so bad it was unclear if he would pull through - he was never left alone. There was always a family member present, praying with and for him. They all held his hand and whispered words of encouragement. When he was able to eat, they helped feed him. They were a constant source of encouragement, and each day when I visited they invited me to join them in prayer.
For a short time, the patient did need to be on dialysis. After several weeks, though, he recovered from the debilitating pneumonia and his kidney function slowly recovered. I am wholeheartedly convinced that without the support, encouragement, and prayer from his family, he would not have done as well.
Through that experience, I gained a new insight into the role of prayer. The role of this blog is not to advocate for any specific religious practice or creed; rather, I am simply saying that I believe prayer is a way to connect with the spiritual side of human beings and aid in the healing process. Prayer gives the person and her family a significant motivation to get better and even further, addresses those intangibles I talked about that make us whole.
Studies examining the role that prayer has in affecting the healing process have been mixed, and it is a very difficult topic to research. In one study, prayer had an effect on the healing of wounds in primates. The group that was prayed for had better results in healing its wounds than did the other group. Additionally, the work of physicians like Dr. Larry Dossey and Dr. Mitchell Krucoff suggest that prayer can be effective. Other studies, however, have had conflicting results.
Studying the effect of prayer is very difficult; there is so much about prayer that we don't understand and more study needs to be done. That being said, I sincerely believe that it is an integral aspect of total care. When patients or their families ask, I pray with them. And if I visit someone in the hospital who is in the process praying or meeting with their pastor or spiritual adviser, I will wait until they are finished. Prayer should not be interrupted. To find out more, you can check out Natural Remedy For Kidney Disease.