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The Power of the Human Touch By: Arturo Martinez This is a picture taken in September of 2006, when I was diagnosed with Lymphoma. It is a type of cancer that affects both adults and children however, the emotional experience differs between the two.
This is a picture of my sister and I on Christmas Eve of 2006. Coincidentally, my grandfather and I both fought Lymphoma in the same year. I was a freshman in high school and he was sixty one years old. My grandfather received treatment on the 3rd floor with the adults, while I received chemotherapy on the 6th floor with the pediatric patients.
6th Floor - Children Oncology There are usually many instances in which patient doctor interaction is taking place.
There are plenty of activities for children to choose from. This is only one part of the room which does not include the 6 recliners, the flat screen TV, video games, and an image of a sunset painted on the walls.
There is more of a “get in and get out” attitude. You feel like “a product in a factory” according to my grandfather, a person diagnosed with the same form of cancer as me but received his treatment as an adult.
Survival Rates Adults = 31%69.1% Versus Children = 0%84.1% 38.1% versus 84.1% increase (46% difference!)
Emotions have an effect on the immune system, one that is many times overlooked.
Positive emotions are associated with approach related behaviors. This means that your body connects these positive emotions with meeting other people and as a result, prepares the immune system accordingly (strengthens it).
Technology has allowed adult oncologists to be even less interactive than in the past. Machines can do almost anything.
Also, improvements in space design allow doctors to fit more patients into the room at once. At the same time, these advances help the oncology offices to bring in more money. Doctors can help out more people while making more money, what is the harm in that?
Many times, doctors overlook the importance of creating a positive environment for their patients. Cancer is already an extremely tough physical struggle, why make it even more emotional than it already is?
How can this positive environment be created? Doctors can team up with organizations that can organize events like a picnic for example, to help get the patients’ minds off of the disease for a little while.
Also, any simple conversation can help patients cope with the disease that much better, regardless of what is is about and making them feel as though you truly care about their health.Creating this positive environment is extremely important, and although theseinteractionsmay take only an extra few minutes a day, they can make a major difference in helping to save lives.
References Slides 1, 2, 4, 6 - pictures taken by the family of Arturo Martinez Slide 3 - Genes, Nicholas. Doctor Blackman with a pediatric patient. Digital image. Medscape. 20 Mar. 2007. Web. 12 Nov. 2010. <http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/553531>. Slide 7 - Giles, Gretchen. Cemetery. Digital image. Bohemian. 16 June 2009. Web. 12 Nov. 2010. <http://www.bohemian.com/bohoblog/index.php/2009/06/16/seeking-america/>. Slide 8 - Fieve, David. Emotions and the brain. Digital image. Health Central. 25 Dec. 2007. Web. 12 Nov. 2010. <http://www.healthcentral.com/schizophrenia/causes-000047_2-145.html>. Picture of the two hands touching each other - http://www.acupuncturelondon.org.uk/phdi/p1.nsf/supppages/1996?opendocument&part=2 Slide 9 - Newby, Paul L. Child throwing baseball. Digital image. MLive. 24 Aug. 2008. Web. 12 Nov. 2010. <http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2008/08/picnic_offers_respite_for_canc.html>. Slide 10 - Allwein-ortiz, Nicole. Chemotherapy bags. Digital image. My SA Blogs. 1 Dec. 2009. Web. 12 Nov. 2010. <http://voices.mysanantonio.com/allweinortiz/>. Slide 11 - Hospital beds. Digital image. Beds. 1 Dec. 2010. Web. 12 Nov. 2010. <http://tropinamber.latestweb.org/bunk-beds-and-plans.html>. Slide 12 – Vidican, Sergiu. Lonely patient. Digital image. Metrolic. 10 Oct. 2010. Web. 12 Nov. 2010. <http://www.metrolic.com/top-10-cancer-misconceptions-135682/>. Slide 13 - Picnics in the Sheep Meadow, Central Park. Digital image. Miss Ginsu. 27 May 2008. Web. 12 Nov. 2010. <http://www.metrolic.com/top-10-cancer-misconceptions-135682/>. Slide 14 - Vidisha. Last Touch. Digital image. 2 Mar. 2009. Web. 12 Nov. 2010. <http://vidisha-beyondwords.blogspot.com/2009/03/last-touch.html>.