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Monday, October 14, 2013

When your symptoms don't tell the whole story

Today's post was shared by RWJF PublicHealth and comes from

Instead of asking you to talk about the pain in your foot, or the ache in your chest, health care workers are starting to ask you about...your story.

There’s an emerging idea in health care that social and psychological conditions -- like poverty and chronic stress -- change how your body and brain work, and that can have damaging long-term effects on your health.

Doctors and nurses from northern California to Camden, N.J., are beginning to see that the first step in treating these patients is often treating the part of the illness that’s not on the surface. Patients like 30-year-old Elizabeth Philkill.

For years, she'd kept her past buried inside. “Some things you do not expose. It’s a judgmental world,” she said.

But in a quiet room with Renee Murray -- a nurse and a virtual stranger -- Philkill finally told the story that she'd shared with only two people in her life.

She told Murray, she'd been sexually abused for years as a child. And that one night a few months ago, she'd had a terrible dream that forced her back to those days. And that she wanted to forget. Fast.
So she made the call. "I called to get me some wet. I made it through it, bam,” she said.
Nurse Murray, who runs a program for underserved pregnant women in a Camden, knew what the drug could do.

“'Wet' is marijuana with PCP dipped in formaldehyde and you smoke it. You are not on our earth anymore when you are high on wet.”

Philkill was three months pregnant at the...
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Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.