Patient Pathways

Patient Pathways

Timothy Lee, Waterloo Qualicare Franchise owner, discusses the harsh reality of our health and how we can mentally approach our health future.

When I catch a flu bug, it’s an ugly sight. It slams me to the mat, I whimper like a little girl, and it even makes my hair hurt. I totally relate to Benylin’s suggestion to “Take A Benylin Day” and Tylenol’s promise to get me back to normal, whatever normal may be for me.

Without being cynical about the over-promises of TV advertising, we need to stop and reality-check our expectations about our health.

I am not invincible. I will get sick. I will have to deal with wearing hospital gowns that open in the back.

As you try to erase that image from your mind, can we change gears and talk about pathways towards wellness? What does it look like? How does it feel? How long will it take? What do I do? Why isn’t anyone telling me anything?

There are a million questions, and very few answers. There are however, a lot of possibilities. Doctors know all medicine comes with odds ratios. No health outcome is guaranteed. No test is 100% accurate. Nothing is complication-free. It is probabilities and percentages – like predicting the weather.

In addition to the treatments, we need to understand there are 3 key predictive factors that affect your recovery that can’t be quantified. The first is Patient Attitude. We know Optimists recover faster than Pessimists. Positive outlook generates positive outcomes.

The second is Mother Nature’s own invention – time. Healing takes time. There is no microwave medicine. If you buy into a Benylin Day, plan for a Radiation Therapy Month or a Chemotherapy Year.

Finally, you are more than the sum of your parts. Don’t underestimate how your energy level, your mood, and your decision making are all connected. As a low energy, confused patient, you need to know your limits. Have someone beside you to help with important decisions, ask extra questions, and push the “call” button.

While we may be proud that we climb our own mountains and ford our own streams, the road to recovery is a journey – a very long journey. In my travels, I’ve learned my favourite trips were the ones where I went with good company.

So, stay positive, take your time, and don’t go alone.