Friday, June 28, 2013

Spoon River Revisited

Spoon River Revisited
Daniel J. Benor

In 1916 Edgar Lee Masters published a collection of free-form poems titled Spoon River Anthology. In 2012 psychiatric psychotherapist Dan Benor, a longtime lover of the original, published what he calls a sequel. In accordance with his interests, research, experience, and beliefs, his poems warn of the dangers of wholesale reliance on westernized medicine.

While I disagree with Dr. Benor on a number of issues, on this subject we are solidly on the same side of the fence: namely, that while medicine as we know it has its place (broken bones, emergency trauma, diagnostic technology, and so forth), there should be training and encouragement around exercise, nutrition, and alternative medicine as well. From the introduction: 100,000 people die annually (in the U.S. alone) from medications properly prescribed and properly used, and 180,000 more die from medical errors. This is the equivalent of two fully loaded jumbo jets crashing every day, killing everyone on board. Is the rate in Canada any better? What pressure would Prime Minister Harper be under if a plane went down every week? Surely to God we, with our level of technology and our health care expenditures, can do better.

One can argue his statistics. One can also argue his suggested treatment methods. There is, however, no arguing my favourite line from the book: “I leave you with an important observation: Illness is not caused by drug deficiency.”

I highly recommend this book to anyone, especially those who may be suffering from a malady that is defying diagnosis or not responding to treatment.

- Steve Lidkea

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