A half empty glass for medical care

| April 6, 2016
gerald deas

Dr. Gerald Deas

By Gerald W. Deas, M.D.

I am sure that you have heard the expression after things have overtaken you to look at the situation with a glass half full, rather than a glass half empty. In my practice of medicine, I have always advised a patient after a diagnosis is made, to consider that many things may be done to relieve and bring their health back into balance.

I recall, when I was a kid, my mom would can fruits and vegetables for the cold winter months, when those foods were not plentiful at the corner store. Although this preservation of foods was called “canning,” it was really “jarring,” in glass containers. It was done with all perfection for the healthy goodies not to spoil. Everything had to be kept sterile, otherwise bubbles would occur in the jar telling you there were live bacteria or yeast present and that the food would not be edible. I would say that one should even today, consider eating preserved foods that are stored in glass rather than metal containers. It has been recently observed by scientists, that many chemicals in plastics and can linings may contain toxic materials that are leached into the food product.

Now, getting back to the jar of the matter. I was called one day to make a house call in Greenwich Village (lower Manhattan). This was not my territory, however, the urgency of the man’s voice on the phone heeded my decision to go. Arriving at my destination, I found out that the address was an apartment house. After gaining entrance and finding the apartment, I rang the bell and was pleasantly met by an elderly gentlemen who shook my hand with relief that I had arrived. The apartment was warm and comfortable but small. He led me into the bedroom off the kitchen where I observed his invalid daughter who needed medical care. He related to me that she had many birth defects and was mostly bedridden.

After examining her, it was evident that she had a severe bronchitis with difficulty breathing but required no hospitalization. I reached into my bag which was always full of medications for emergencies. I always carried enough medicines in case a drugstore was unavailable as well as whether the patient had the means for payment of these drugs.

As I looked around the room, I was overtaken by drawings hung on the walls that were in geometrical shapes with multiple colored lines. These drawings were beautiful and I was told by her father that even though his daughter had poor eyesight, that she created these pictures daily. I suggested to him that these pictures should be in a gallery for others to enjoy. He related to me that he had no contacts with galleries or art centers. Since I was aware of the Studio Museum in Harlem, I suggested that I would look into having her art displayed in their gallery. When the curator saw these works, he immediately arranged a show. The rest is history.

Now getting back to the apartment that I was leaving. Her father handed me a glass jar of coins in payment. To say the least, I was “jarred,” by this experience and handed the jar back to him. He hugged and shook my hand as I left for my office.

It is important to remember when an illness overtakes us, always look for the outcome of the jar to be half full rather than half empty and you will get well.

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Category: Health

About the Author ()

Gerald W. Deas, MD, MPH, MA is a physician, poet, patient advocate, playwright, media personality, political activist and public health crusader. Read his full bio at http://www.downstate.edu/giving/funds/deas.html/.

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