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Blog: Lessons from history

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'To keep ourselves free from disease we need the ability to live within our means and personal capabilities. When we feel ill, the answer does not always lie within the remit of the modern doctor'

In Victorian times a good doctor would be called on to cure a weak and feeble young maiden who did little more then graciously lay upon the sofa, clearly not strong enough to live a full life. Often this was the result of a dose of unrequited love or some other life misdemeanour.

The doctor would observe the frail young woman, take her by the hand, consider the strength of breathing and pulse and look kindly upon his patient. Invariably the advice was that the patient should be ‘taken away’ to take the local waters or indulge in another health promoting action such as deep breathing.

The point of this preamble is that I have just been away and feel great! Energy, good humour and determination prevail, for a while at least, until the rumbles of life begin to get me down once more. Holidays, if taken in the right place and with the right people are a wonderful tonic and bring improved health to tired and embattled souls.

Nurses have difficult jobs and families to care for, which in my experience can be more exhausting than work, meaning that taking time away at regular intervals is essential to their health and well being.

Modern doctors are crammed full of knowledge, facts and information and have access to drugs and technologies which our Victorian doctor could never have imagined. But, as mere human beings with complex needs and wishes, we often need a touch of the modern doctor as well as our Victorian friend to take the path to wellness and better health.

To do what we can to keep ourselves in the best of health and free from disease we need the ability to live within our means and personal capabilities. When we feel ill, the answer to better feelings does not always lie within the remit of the modern doctor. Living well can prevent us from suffering ill health and horrible diseases, meaning that good health is largely up to us; we need the discipline to enjoy things in moderation rather then excess.

At the moment though, I can still recall how weary and down-hearted I felt before enjoying my week away from work and family, and how bright and chirpy I feel now.

So, with all this in mind, lets have a bit more of the Victorian doctor, who rather then reaching for the prescription pad will make his diagnosis and insist we take time to travel and, for a while, enjoy another place.

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