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.’
“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.