W5 Reflection: healthy/sick

The meaning behind the culture of biomedicine is the culture more in western society that accepts biomedicine as absolute fact. It is something that is logical and can be explained through text books as well as experiments. The reason it is viewed as fact is because it takes into account the best knowledge we have available at the time along with repeatable results that can justify the claims made. This is the main reason biomedicine is excepted without any question in western civilization.

I think the basis of dichotomy’s came from peoples quest for knowledge. If there is a question and someone gives an answer, is the answer right or wrong? Even when you talk about religion, no matter what one you talk about there is almost always a good and an evil side. Or another example is you cannot have the light (good) without the dark (evil). Showing that dichotomy’s are two sides of the same coin, but in this people seem to refuse to believe that there are shades of grey in between. This makes everything simpler for people to understand but portrays everything as either black or white which more times than not, is not the case.

I think that the healthy sick dichotomy is accepted in western society as truth because people generally think of themselves in one of those terms, but never both and never neither of them. For this reason people think you must be either healthy or sick, but are you healthy if you feel fine but are unaware of the cancer growing in your body? What about the person that feels fine and is active but has a large aneurysm growing in their brain? Thinking about it in these terms makes it harder to tell the difference. Showing that healthy verses sick is just a mental state until he know what is really going on within our own bodies.

7 thoughts on “W5 Reflection: healthy/sick

  1. Josh,
    I really enjoyed reading your post about the meaning behind biomedicine, your views on dichotomy, and your paragraph about healthy vs. sick dichotomy. I think you made a lot of good points in all of your paragraphs but I especially liked the one about your views on dichotomy. The healthy sick dichotomy is a very important one for clinicians to understand. As you said in your post, people either think they are healthy or sick, never in between. I think it’s important for clinicians to explain that it’s not as simple as black and white, healthy and sick cannot be classified into two distinct categories like that, there is a lot more to it. Especially because everyone has different views on what they think a healthy or sick state is. The potential implications of a doctor taking healthy vs. sick as a fact can cause some misunderstandings. There are so many different views on what makes a person fully healthy and I don’t think that can be fully defined and written out. Some people may think that someone who looks okay on the outside but may have an internal sickness is healthy. I think doctors can run into a lot of troubles if they take healthy vs. sick as a fact.

  2. Josh I really enjoyed your post. The way you describe dichotomy that it is not just black or white but really grey is perfect and the way to describe it I feel the same way as well. Your Healthy/Sick dichotomy is an interesting one, basically you argue that someone who appears healthy may actually be sick. This is something that doctors struggle with on a regular basis. I currently work in the emergency room and see patients who are obviously sick due to them being in the emergency room but the extent of which is sometimes unknown and doctors struggle with this often. Doctors recognize that sometimes illness do not always show their common symptoms and struggle to decided whether or not to order a certain test to rule out a particular diagnosis. Doctors normally assume that a person is only as sick as they look, but sometimes when they go order an extra test they find something much worse. Basically I’m saying that doctors need to recognize and they already do that not every healthy appearing person is healthy or even every sickly person is very sick. The implications could be massive if someone comes through an emergency room with mild abdominal pain but it turns out to be stomach cancer. I really enjoyed your post.

  3. Hi Josh, thanks for your post on the healthy/sick dichotomy and its role in western medicine! I think this dichotomy is important for clinicians to understand for a number of reasons. For one, I think its valuable for clinicians to understand the point of view their patients are viewing sickness from. If the clinician is aware that a patient tends to think about health/sickness in black and white terms, the clinician may be more inclined to emphasize in their explanation of different conditions that to a certain degree healthiness exists on a spectrum, and is not always so black and white. If the clinicians themselves take this dichotomy as fact then I feel preventative measures for sickness could become grossly underemphasized. With a “if you’re not sick, you’re healthy” mentality I feel little room would be allowed for things like telling smokers to quit smoking to avoid cancer, or drug users to avoid addiction or risk overdose. Lifestyles like these, ones that act as a prelude to illness rather than a distinct state of illness, must be recognized, and I feel their recognition can be diminished in a healthy/sick dichotomy. Thanks again for your post Josh, I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this dichotomy!

  4. I agree wholeheartedly with you r views on the dichotomy of being healthy or sick. If you are to simply describe someone as being healthy when their body and its processes are at a homeostatic level then a large portion of the general population would be considered sick since rarely is someone’s body at a complete balance. As you mentioned it is also impractical for someone to simply define being healthy or sick based off of how they feel because there could be something seriously wrong with their bodies and they won’t find out until it is too late. A danger of a healthcare professional simply viewing someone as healthy or sick is that the body is far too complicated to simply classify a person as one or the other. Simply observing someone through a basic exam or blood test can lead a doctor to miss a symptom or biochemical marker characteristic of a severe illness even if the person appears to be fine. Clinicians may never be able to perfectly draw a line separating when someone is considered healthy or sick; instead they will only look to determine the level of severity a person’s illness may be when it is presented. As for finding something such as a tumor or aneurism early, with improved advance screening methods such as genetic testing, doctor’s will be more capable of discovering a severe illness early and hopefully be able to provide effective treatment methods in a timely manner.

  5. After reading your post, I read a lot of comments that I completely agreed with you on. In fact, you pointed out a few things that I overlooked and you made me look at this from outside of my box. Also, when you spoke of dichotomy it made me think back to week 1, when we had to answer what it meant to be “healthy.” I do agree that in today’s society too many people find themselves to be either sick or healthy. The examples you mentioned in regards to the person that unknowingly has cancer growing in them, and the person that has an aneurysm in their brains, I found to be great examples. Then, my brain raced to the dental field and I thought of how strongly it is encouraged for people to get their teeth cleaned every 6 months. The correlation that I’m trying to connect here is that people don’t go for a yearly check up with their doctors as if they would with their dentists. The reason I think people don’t do so is because of the stigma that if you’re not sick, you must be healthy. While with a dentist you go get your teeth cleaned because society has made a pretty smile out to be so highly acknowledged. In conclusion, I feel that people need to make their yearly check ups with their doctors a requirement, because you never know what may be lying inside your body that could cause damage in the blink of an eye.

    Have a good one!

  6. Your discussion of the healthy sick dichotomy was very interesting to me, as this is one that never really occurred to me. Your analysis was similar in many ways to my analysis of the life and death dichotomy. I think that it is nearly impossible to define one’s state of health in absolute terms. When approaching one’s health, it should be looked at as a spectrum. To label one sick who only has a bruised toe seems to be overdramatic, but since there is no definition of sickness other than a deviation from one’s normal state of body, this label could be fitting. Clinicians should understand this dichotomy when approaching patient analysis and treatment. Labeling someone as “sick” forces them into a role that is often a challenging one to be in. Since it has been shown that much of recovery lies within a patients mindset, understanding that there are many aspects to health and not just two categories is important to a patients mindset. If they took this dichotomy as fact, the body as a whole is neglected. By ignoring the wide spectrum of symptoms and facets of health that one can have, most of the attention is only put on the one problem area which would be problematic as it is all connected.

  7. Hi Josh,
    I enjoyed your post; you brought up some points I did not think of myself. You touched upon the psychological component of being sick and being healthy. I believe that you are absolutely correct that we tend to measure health by how functional we are, but someone with an unknown tumor or a brain aneurysm would be functional until their symptoms present themselves. This can be way down the road, though. Illness is also based on self-evaluation, so if a person feels healthy, it does not necessarily mean they are healthy. It is important for clinicians to understand that grey areas exist when it comes to sickness and health, this is because there can be a risk of too much intervention or too much medicalization. There is also the risk of too little done for the patient to prevent further progression of an illness. This is why doctors have to find a balance between deeming somebody as sick or someone the ‘picture of perfect health.’ I agree with Nick’s comment as well that yearly physicals and blood tests are necessary for patients. I also believe Danielle made a good point about the concept of illness doing a lot to do with a patient’s mindset.

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