Sickness. There’s a gnarly glaring spotlight on it. Wellness gurus, come and go, but sickness is sticky. You can’t shake it. Greedy pharmaceutical ads about new medications with small print warnings and disturbing side effects are constantly interrupting your television shows. You watch hypnotized. Absorbing the sickness and ignoring the healing side. You identify with the sickness and believe you need the cure.
Sound familiar? Jerry has a finger that aches at the joint. He googles “finger hurts” 16,400,000 results. Finger pain: symptom, signs, causes, treatments. Everyone wants to help. Medicinenet, WebMD, Healthline. There’s a society for it, the Rheumatoid Arthritis Foundation. That’s it. Arthritis. So many types, so many possibilities. He narrows it down. Rheumatoid. Diagnosis complete. Cause: peripheral neuropathy.
Waiting. Life on Hold
Scared sh!tle$$. After ten minutes of research, the joint pain spreads to nearly every body parts. The sickness is coursing through his body. He books an appointment with a specialist. The top man in the field. He waits weeks for his appointment. Everything is on hold. The pain is becoming more intense. Unbearable. Those pharma ads on TV? He can’t wait for the perfect one that will give him the 411 he needs to “tell his doctor about” the pill that will work for him.
Next Stop: Doc
The big day arrives. Everything will be different now. He’ll book the surgery he’s certain he needs. He’ll get meds to ease the pain. He’ll get his prescription refilled for the pills that help him sleep. He’ll begin healing. The doctor knows the way. He has the answers. The doctor will make everything all right again. The doctor will see him.
Jerry is ushered down the long hall to the examining room. The nurse flips the green plastic flag outside the door. The patient is ready. He surveys the room. Does he start in the chair next to the desk, or does he hop right on up to the table? The nurse gives him the cue. Table it is. Doctor walks in. Greetings are exchanged. Jerry is high with anticipation. Nervous. Very worried. Extremely hopeful. The doctor is God.
Making the Case
Armed with the discoveries he’s made online Jerry, explains everything to the doctor. Every ache, pain, and twinge. He discusses range of motion, coloration, and diameter. He describes his pain in vivid detail. He can give it a number on a scale of 1 to 10. In fact he can number his pain by time of day, activity schedule, and pain in relation to meals. Jerry is a man who owns it.
The Moment Arrives
The doctor listens. He doesn’t speak. Jerry doesn’t notice. Doc rolls his chair away from the table and over to the computer. With his back to Jerry, the doctor starts typing. He’s at it for a long while. At least that’s what it feels like to Jerry. While he’s waiting, Jerry prays. “Please God, send me a cure.”
Healing is at Hand
The doctor is finally finished typing. The printer ejaculates the paperwork. Doc gathers up the papers, Jerry’s patient folder, and he speaks only these words: “Take this to reception and get the prescription filled.” Stunned by the silence, Jerry is certain his worst fears are realized. Head down, heart pounding, he leaves the room and walks the long hall back to reception. He hands the nurse his file. He takes the prescription and carefully folds it in fourths. He slips it in his pocket.
He’s Walgreen’s bound as if in a stupor. Eyes straight ahead, determined to get to the drugstore quickly without incident. A little confused by what just happened.While driving the mile and a half to the pharmacy. He starts to come to. Even with the highlighted printouts from his google research there were a few things he forgot to mention, a few things he didn’t understand. Why didn’t he ask more questions? Sickness is exhausting, and the aftermath of a less than satisfying doctor’s appointment brings him down even lower.
What the Pharmacist Didn’t Say
Jerry gives the prescription to the pharmacist. She takes it from him and walks away from the counter. He waits. His name is called. He approaches the counter. The pharmacist has a puzzled look on her face. “I’m sorry, we don’t have this here.”
Jerry says, “What do you mean you don’t have this in your drugstore? You’re the biggest drugstore in the country.”
The pharmacist said, “Yes, that’s true, but we don’t have this.” She hands the prescription back to Jerry, and walks away.
He looks at the paper in his hand. The one that held the miracle cure for his sickness. The one that would end his pain and make him whole again. The answer to his prayers. Here’s what it said: “Every day, walk three miles. As you are walking, tell your body how glorious it is. Every day, talk to the different parts of your body. Praise your joints. Praise your heart for beating so well through the night. Praise your lungs. And every day new vitality will come to you.”
You can do it, too. You can change the thoughts in your mind and tell the listening audience in your body that today you can become anew. When you focus on healing, when you talk about healing, do you know who’s listening? Your mind and body is listening. Right now, your cells are listening and they’re feeling what you’re thinking. They are responding. An individual cell, is willing to go either way as directed. And when you say, “I’m going to let gratitude, awareness, and praise give direction,” then you allow healing to happen.
This essay is inspired by a story written by Jerome K. Jerome, an English author and humourist 1859-1927. Thank you to Christopher Ian Chenoweth, a tireless spiritual leader who is beyond generous, encouraging faith-based ministries of all religions to use material from his extensive collection.