Life History of Viola Lauper Johnson

Chapter 8

Medecine and Health

How do you like to be treated when ill?

Having lived alone for so many of my years, I am, of necessity, quite independent and take care of many needs on my own. Even so, there are times when I have been totally incapacitated, and I appreciate the support and care of others. I tend to resist a heavy, autocratic way toward my care. I feel that I know my body and strengths better than anyone knows, and can dictate many of my own needs. Having said this, I do need to express how grateful I am to my loved ones during the several times they have administered tender care.

Describe the most serious illness you have had.

I've had a few. As a survivor, I've come through some treacherous spots. Perhaps the announcement that I had been diagnosed with a mass in my throat, spelling CANCER was the most alarming. By surgery, I did have all thyroids removed, and am on Synthroid for life, being monitored regularly by my Endocrinologist.

What are your tips for good health?

Certainly, best knowledge tells me to eat nutritionally, and on a scheduled diet (hard for me to follow); also drink lots of water (I like warm drinks in preference to much quantity of any other liquid). One item toward well-being that I can truthfully emphasize is my belief that mental conflict (psychosomatics) is real and contributes to all sorts of ails. Yes, one can feel ill and decrease in health without psychosomatic problems; but Attitude and "Thinking Well" can help the bodily ailments in an unbelievable way.

Did you have any home-type cures for the following ailments?

  • Hiccups: Hold your breath and ingest a spoonful of sugar
  • Warts: No real cure - just toil with them until they wear off, sometimes with great distress.
  • Toothache: Use warm and cold compresses, alternately. Rinse with salt and avoid sweets and cold.
  • Colds: Sweat it out, suffer and endure the misery.
  • Earache: Apply warm cloths to ear. Try to sleep; drink fluids.

We had no medical help and very little with which to make home cures. Thankfully, we were blessed with healing blood and abundant SURVIVORSHIP.

What are your thoughts about modern medicine?

I believe in them, and with an established faith in your doctor, I feel that the medicines. which have been researched and dispensed today, are helpful. I use several prescribed medications, and so far, have experienced a minimum of side effects. I am also very thankful for several over-the-counter medications. I grew up before the advent of aspirin, as did my dear mother. Since both of us were afflicted with full-bore migraines. I wish that aspirin tablets had come along earlier. The aspirin and its family has provided much relief to me for the past many years.

How do you feel about doctors and why?

As it is today, at this time of my life, I'll have to admit that I'm pretty much involved with the medics, and I find them not only too expensive, but lacking in many ways. Yet, as it becomes necessary to keep my appointments, I feel a real necessity to build up some faith in my doctors. I did have a good rapport with my Primary doctor at UCSF and was seen by him for 11 years. Early in this year of 1997, he took another assignment at the hospital/medical center and no longer sees patients. I must now stumble along to find someone new. Mean­time, I do enjoy my association with my Endocrinologist in the Thyroid Clinic at UCSF. Dr Goldman has been monitoring my condition since August, 1992, following a thyroidectomy, which was deemed necessary after a diagnosis of medullar cancer in my thyroids. Dr. Hunt performed this surgery, but did not make himself especially available when I needed him during post surgery. I decided that he was too interested in himself rather than his patients; so, when I was forced into invasive surgery with a kinked/blocked bowel on Thanksgiving Day in 1993, I chose another surgical team headed by a Dr. Mulvihill. Unfortunately. he scored no higher in my opinion. Ah, surgeons appear greedy and over anxious to cut and operate and then admire their scars. Early in 1995, I was examined by this same Dr. M. when a rupture was evident in my right groin. He hurriedly explained what a breeze the surgery would be to mend it; but I opted to 'try to live with it' which I'm still doing.

Another incident [broken hip] on Christmas Day, 1995, forced me into surgery in a Denver Hospital with a Dr. Kemp. He didn't mind at all putting me through that ordeal on Christmas Day; seemed glad for the business. Post-surgery follow-ups were done by a couple of his referrals with whom I was not pleased at all. I was glad to be removed to JR's and Sue's home where they took tender care of me for 2 months until I was able to return home, ever so gladly.

Now, at this age (84 in 1997), I have far too many ailments, resulting in far less attention from the doctors (they like to specialize and REFER) and very little relief for my ailments.

How do you feel about dentists?

They are necessary. I have been exposed to many and perhaps have "enjoyed" more of their care than others of my parent's family. For many years, we did not own a toothbrush nor did we have access to any source of dental care. My chemistry appears to have needed more than the usual, so I cannot recall any visit to a dentist that some process was not necessary. I've been through a lot of care and restoration since the late 1930's. Alas, some of it was not all for the good; procedures were made in error or in wrong fashion. I would now follow a different program if I had a second chance.

I cannot refrain from feeling resentful when I think of the person who was entrusted with my mother's dental care when she was 19. She had some discoloration on front teeth (she too had been denied dental care during her youth). Her dentist felt that extraction was the necessary move to rid her of discoloration; and, without consulting anyone, even my mother, he proceeded to remove her teeth at that tender age. I knew her with little or no front teeth until plates were arranged for some years later.

I can only hope and pray that grandson, Erik Storheim, will be magically accepted to the Dental School program - that he will become proficient and successful in this career, and that he will ultimately become a tender, caring, patient and understanding Doctor with super dentistry skills.

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