As a doctor, it’s my job to figure out what patients really need. Some need antibiotics. Some need pain pills. But everyone needs love.
During medical school I cared for burned children. One of my patients was a 3-year-old with severe burns over most of his body. His roommate, an older boy, had just burned one arm. Yet the older child withered in the corner while the younger one jumped all over the playroom despite his contracted and painful limbs. Why? The younger boy’s family kept hugging and kissing him. The older boy had no visitors.
People die without love.
My friend, Dr. Patch Adams, discovered that less than 3% of his patients have self-esteem. And less than 5% have any idea what a day-to-day vitality for life is about. The fact is most people are in pain. So what do we prescribe for pain? Painkillers, of course.
Recently, I attended a training on the safe use of opioid painkillers where I learned that the United States is 4.6% of the world’s population, yet we consume 80% of all opioids. But painkillers don’t seem to be killing our pain. Why?
In America, we overprescribe opioids while under-prescribing the most potent drug of all: love. And love IS a drug. How fabulous you feel with it. And how painful life is without it. So why are we so stingy about prescribing love?
The antidote for hate, neglect, apathy, misery, even sorrow is love. No prescription pad needed. No risk of overdose Love is my preferred potion. I give patients heart-shaped balloons. And hugs. Yes, I even tell patients, “I love you.” Some leave with my kiss on their forehead.
You don’t need a medical degree to say, “I love you.” Just three simple words can heal more wounds than all the doctors in the world.
Pamela Wible pioneered the community-designed ideal medical clinic and blogs at Ideal Medical Care. She is the author of Pet Goats and Pap Smears.