Thursday, September 10, 2009

the question of wellness

what is wellness?

For almost four years, I have struggled with this basic question. I realize that my struggle has less to do with the physiological variables of this equation than with the ontological, or even with the theological ones.

Am I well (or well-off) if I possess material things? Is it true that the wealthier I am, the happier I am? This is one of the few persistent myths of all time. However, in spite of the ample evidence that wealth does not bring happiness, that those who have a lot, also suffer a lot, in particular of the rich's -paranoia, the always present suspicion that everyone else is after their possessions, and the inability to build trust because of the underlying paranoia. Most, and I include myself in this, continue dreaming that if only I won the lottery, if I had plenty of money, then, I would... as the song says: "if I had a million dollars, I would buy you a dress..."

So, being well-off may also mean being cut-off from the others, unable to relate freely and trust totally. That which is supposed to bring me freedom ends being the prison that isolates me from the rest.

This is the irony, most likely well-off means being off-well, whatever wellness means.

Am I well if my body is healthy? that is, I have no illness of any kind?
I don't think I am just because I think. I don't think I am well just because I declare it so. Rather, I think I am because I can love, relate, believe, and I am well only because I

For the allopathic doctors (most of the health system in Canada), Jan would be well if she could agree to take the medications they have prescribed to control unwanted disorders. They agree that controlling the symptoms is not a definitive solution, but in a system where they agree to be basically "pill pushers", there is little they can do to search for therapies that would help Jan develop the functions that were most affected by the aneurysm.

Rehab for Jan, covered by our health care system, meant speech, physical and occupational therapies for 2 months as an in-patient and 4 more months as an out-patient. That's it. After that, any therapy she wanted to receive would be out-of-pocket. So she is not well because she is not well-off, but would she be well if money was not the issue?

Maybe not.

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