Archive for March, 2011

Being Compliant: Taking Your “Good Medicine”

March 14, 2011

Prescriptions filled in Dr. J's Apothecary Shop provide "Good Medicine" for those who partake.Prescriptions filled in Dr. J's Apothecary Shoppe provide "Good Medicine" for those who partake.

Although medication must be taken as the doctor has prescribed in order to be most effective, often many people, however, follow only half of their doctor’s advice. Editors web, the voice of the health consumer, discusses the perplexing issue of “noncompliance,” occuring when patients do not follow their doctors’ orders. Noncompliant patients simply forget to take medications on time, misunderstand the directions, cannot make the lifestyle changes required for certain treatments or simply ignore medical advice. Such neglect often has tragic consequences. Editorsweb, the voice of the health consumer, discusses the perplexing issue of “noncompliance,” occuring when patients do not follow their doctors’ orders. Noncompliant patients simply forget to take medications on time, misunderstand the directions, cannot make the lifestyle changes required for certain treatments or simply ignore medical advice. Such neglect often has tragic consequences. According to Editorsweb.org, “It is estimated that 125,000 people with treatable ailments die each year simply because they do not take prescribed medications properly or they skip them altogether.” As a former pharmacist, I am especially aware that failure to be compliant or being noncompliant often marks the difference between the successful treatment of a disease and a lingering illness that shows little or no improvement or even death.

To get better, patients must follow both their mothers’ and their doctors’ advice and “take their medicine.” In a parallel manner, the prescriptions compounded by “the good doctor” and filled in this apothecary shoppe are prepared “to minister to the heart and soul.”  The opening stanza of “After the Art of the Apothecary,” the poem that could be considered the theme song for my spiritual endeavors, expresses my purpose for opening this enterprise:  

I desire to follow recipes and not to vary

From the prescribed formulas for the remedies I need,

 To compound after the art of the apothecary.

As is generally the case, whenever I am privileged to teach from the Bible or deliver a message in a more formal teaching setting, I share what God has been revealing to me or what I have been learning or experiencing of late. Often what I have been learning also has application to those whom I am teaching who most often relate to my message because they are in a similar situation. I am saying that, first and foremost, the medication prescribed is for me. I recognized this truth when I wrote the following poem in response to those who say “Why don’t you take your own medicine and heal yourself instead of trying to heal others?”:      

Good Doctor, Heal Yourself

                                                                                                                                              

They were all speaking well of Him and were amazed by                                                                                                                        the gracious words that came from His mouth, yet they said,                                                                                                          “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?”

Then He said to them, “No doubt you will quote this proverb to Me:                                                                                           ‘Doctor, heal yourself.’ ‘All we’ve heard that took place                                                                                                                             in Capernaum do here in Your hometown also.’

Luke 4:22-23

“Good doctor, heal yourself.”: words coming from the heart,

Hardened by unbelief that taints the inner part.

 Beyond any disguise, Jesus knew what they thought.

They wanted the right remedy that could be bought,

But they all doubted the Savior’s words from the start.        

Christ has healing words He desires to impart:                

Custom prescriptions written for each patient’s chart.     

Compounded to perfection, the work has been wrought.

“Good doctor, heal yourself.”                                   

For this apothecary, work becomes an art.        

Consecrated to minister and set apart

To teach the joy of serving, as I have been taught,

I triumph in Christ in the battles I have fought          

And rest in knowing God’s presence will never depart.         

“Good doctor, heal yourself.”    

As I have been developing my blog and posting new entries, I recognized that I have been touching upon a number of topics that I plan to discuss in greater detail in a book that I am in the process of writing. A tentative title is Good Medicine: Prescriptions for Overcoming Toxic Emotions.  Some of my recent blog entries deal with negative emotions, such as “discouragement, disappointment and despair” which I refer to as the “Three Deadly Ds.” In addition, I also discuss fear, a potentially debilitating toxic emotion which is counteracted by “love, the perfect antidote.” In Watch, Fight and Pray: My Personal Three-fold Strategy to Overcome Prostate Cancer, I also came to recognize firsthand the importance of overcoming “dangerous emotions,” as I compound remedies that I needed to combat my diagnosis of cancer.

In Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe I share my prescriptions, anticipating that those who come to my establishment will find remedies that can be applied in practical ways to improve their spiritual health which is directly connected with their physical and emotional health as well. I concur with Dr. Larry Dossey, another former pharmacist and MD with “the experience of a practicing internist and the soul of a poet,” who has written extensively on the role of the mind in health and the role of spirituality in healthcare. One of his many books is entitled Prayer is Good Medicine.  A blog appropriately called “Good Medicine” offers this definition of the term used in Native American spirituality: “. . . things that are good for you and will heal you.”  The term also reflects the kind of medications offered in my dispensary, but “good medicine” is good only when it is taken as prescribed and applied with faith.

Advertisements

Brand new look, brand new name but motive remains the same

March 3, 2011

Although my  Wordpress Blog has a brand new look, along with a brand new name, my motive, however, remains the same: I am “still compounding after the art of the apothecary. . . filling prescriptions to minister to the heart and soul.”

Recently I retrieved a journal entry that appeared to be a poetic response to a set of scriptures read during a particular time of prayer and fasting.

Day 25  April 13  Isaiah 10:26-27; I John 2:20; Isaiah 9:1-4

The anointing that breaks every yoke flows freely,

Released within me to slip past the enemy;

Anointed anew with oil compounded by me,

After the fine art of the apothecary.

The four-line stanza or quatrain with the same ending rhyme and metrical pattern makes reference to being “anointed anew,” a characteristic that I trust my “new” blog reflects. At the time of the journal entry, I recall a number of messages, personal prophetic words, and other references to “a new anointing”, the inspiration behind this poem with that title:

 A New Anointing

 But my horn you have exalted

like a wild ox; I have been

anointed with fresh oil.

Psalm 92:10

 

I am still overwhelmed, utterly astounded

When I recall all the Lord has done as I stand

In this place of grace where sin had once abounded.

Yielded and still, I submit to all that He has planned,

As I receive a new anointing compounded

Still after the art of the apothecary.

Fragrant  blessings caress all that I do and say,

 As I touch the realm of the extraordinary.

 I must walk in wisdom and not be confounded

 By devilish devices that distract and dismay.

 I look to God who shall bless and refresh my soul,

 As He pours this precious ointment upon my head

 That I might be sanctified, preserved and made whole

 And trade sorrow for the oil of gladness instead.

 Trusting in God’s will is never disappointing,

 As I receive from on high this new anointing.

 

Recently in a presentation celebrating Black History Month, I paid tribute to Jupiter Hammon, the first person of African descent to publish a poem in colonial America, recognizing that this year is the Tri-Centennial of his birth. I commented upon Hammon’s poetry which is inspired by the Bible and borne out of a personal salvation experience. I also shared that my introduction to Hammon, one of four African American poets whom I discussed in my doctoral dissertation, occurred when I was freshman pharmacy student at Purdue University back in 1961. Most remarkably I knew that I wanted to become a pharmacist when I was 15 years old, and I “prophesied to myself” that I would go to Purdue and major in pharmacy, the first time that I set foot on the campus. I enrolled in what would become the first graduating class of the newly implemented five-year pharmacy program at Purdue.

After graduation I passed the state board examination and became a registered pharmacist in Indiana. For more than 25 years, I practiced the profession in Indiana, Washington, DC and North Carolina. Although I have not been involved in pharmacy as a career since 1994, I have come to recognize the spiritual parallel of my initial profession: “first in the natural, then in the spirit . . .”  I have since come to know this reality in the lines of this particular poem, one of my heart songs. You might say it is the signature piece for this new blog that I have renamed “Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe.” I invite you to stop by and see what remedies I have been working on recently, as I continue to compound: 

 After the Art of the Apothecary                                 

 And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment,

an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary:

it shall be an holy anointing oil.

Exodus 30:25 [KJV]

  

I desire to follow recipes and not to vary

From the prescribed formulas for the remedies I need,

 To compound after the art of the apothecary.

 

I long to work circumspectly and always be wary,

 To measure and mix precisely for love and not for greed.

I desire to follow recipes and not to vary.

 

I recall yearning to learn from childhood days in Gary,

 To weigh my decisions and follow as the Lord would lead,

To compound after the art of the apothecary.

 

I seek to formulate my ideal art and to marry

Vocation and avocation as one of love and need.

I desire to follow recipes and not to vary.

 

I attempt to move with wisdom but never to tarry

To master each prescription, to excel and to succeed,

To compound after the art of the apothecary.

 

The sweet smelling savor I desire my life to carry

Is the pure, holy anointing oil tempered of my need.

I desire to follow recipes and not to vary,

 To compound after the art of the apothecary. 

In earlier times doctors were surgeons, eye doctors, dentist, psychologists, and general practitioners. Doctors diagnosed patients, prescribed medicine and then filled their own prescriptions in the front part of the shop.  Such may have been the case in this photo of an apothecary shop in Charleston, SC around 1790. Such also may be the case, spiritually speaking, with Dr. J in his “new” apothecary shop.

Inside an historic apothecary shop