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Editorial Issue 188

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 188 - November 2011

Strange how each issue of Positive Health PH Online seems to have its own ‘theme’, despite my non-selection, or so I think. As I commission and put together each issue of PH Online, I must subconsciously select articles which go together in a certain way, despite the variation of the subjects.

PH Online Nov Issue 188 has a definite selection of features around Mental Health, Healing, Trauma, Abuse / Bullying and Patient Expectation. Additionally, there are Nutritional features discussing Eating with the Heart in Mind, a Naturopathic Roadmap to Achieving your Ideal Weight and Diet during Renal Failure and after Kidney Transplant. Even the Bodywork features concern aspects of Heal

For much of October, while putting together Issue 188, I have also been caring for my partner and webmaster Mike, recovering from a hernia repair operation. As everybody who has ever been in hospital and ever undergone any surgery will know, the euphemisms used by medical doctors to describe minor procedures never convey the dramatic and sometimes catastrophic reality experienced by the patient.

As someone who, as a child, nearly died of meningitis and spent a long period in hospital, and who has had various ‘minor’ operations during my childhood, youth and young adulthood, I am acutely aware of how what seems to be a non-major operation balloons into such feelings of vulnerability, pain, helplessness. Just the simple, normal functions of urination, defecation, walking, assume monumental mountains to climb on the journey back to health.

Today my partner told me that he understood why my mother, who nearly died of Clostridium difficile following knee replacement surgery in Montreal, absolutely refuses to have her other knee operated, despite being severely disabled. Mike, perfectly healthy, fit and strong, suffered an inguinal hernia about 6 months ago, probably self-inflicted during his intense stretching and exercising regimen. Although he was able to go about most of his ordinary life with the help of a hernia support belt, he wouldn’t have been able to resume exercising and exert himself unless the hernia was repaired. So he underwent the laparoscopic repair surgery on a day surgery basis and was discharged several hours later in the afternoon.

And that is one of the problems. When you are discharged from the day surgery, you are meant to refer any issues, problems, complications, etc either back to the GP, or go to Accident and Emergency. As someone who grew up in Canada where patients can visit any specialist doctor they choose, the limitations of the NHS system have loomed massively. All the complications ensuing from this hernia operation – urinary / prostate / kidney infection, pain, constipation resulting from pain killers with codeine and electrolyte disruption due to other medication for the constipation have all been typical drug-related issues. In fact, the infection – whatever it has been – almost certainly was iatrogenic, as Mike was perfectly healthy prior to the surgery and showed urinary problems immediately following the operation.

Having moved fairly recently to Kent and not having been able to assemble a team of holistically-oriented health professionals, I have suffered anguish regarding how to recognize and diagnose symptoms and attempt to move matters forward without heroic or aggressive interventions, which may have resulted from going to A&E on a Saturday or Sunday night. The GP hours are virtually 9-5; we have had more contact with the out-of-hours doctors, who are also generalists. What Mike needed and still needs is a doctor knowledgeable in urology. What he doesn’t need is to undergo further invasive interventions unless absolutely necessary.

I am sure that the scenario described above is familiar to virtually every family in the UK who has ever had the misfortune to have a family member fall sick or experience health problems. It appears that Mike has made progress, although he certainly doesn’t feel well, is still experiencing pain. He is finally undergoing blood, urine tests and will have an x-ray, but this has been arrived at through my virtually 24/7 campaign to email and phone the GP and out-of-hours agency. It is apparently a virtual state secret to discover or see the notes from the actual surgery. Quite incredible.

Hopefully by the time the Dec Issue 189 is published, Mike will feel better and this will be a nasty memory. My fingers are crossed, metaphorically speaking.


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About Sandra Goodman PhD

Sandra Goodman PhD, Co-founder and Editor of Positive Health, trained as a Molecular Biology scientist in Agricultural Biotechnology in Canada and the US, focusing upon health issues since the 1980s in the UK. Author of 4 books, including Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art, Vitamin C – The Master Nutrient, Germanium: The Health and Life Enhancer and numerous articles, Dr Goodman was the lead author of the Consensus Document Nutritional and LifeStyle Guidelines for People with Cancer and compiled the Cancer and Nutrition Database for the Bristol Cancer Help Centre in 1993. Dr Goodman is passionate about making available to all people, particularly those with cancer, clinical expertise in Nutrition and Complementary Therapies. Dr Goodman was recently featured as Doctor of the Fortnight in ThinkWellness360.

Dr Goodman and long-term partner Mike Howell seek individuals with vision, resources, and organization to continue and expand the Positive Health PH Online legacy beyond the first 30 years, with facilities for training, to fund alternative cancer research, and promote holistic organizations internationally. Read about Dr Goodman and purchase Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art.  She may be contacted privately for Research, Lectures and Editorial services via:   and

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