IS THE REMEDY WORSE THAN THE DISEASE?
If there is something wrong with you, is it better to treat the problem or let it steal your life away? If you are concerned for your well-being, you might be inclined to agree. Sometimes we doubt that a cure will be desirable or effective.
Francis Bacon said, ‘The remedy is worse than the disease.’ [i] I have known cancer patients who made the decision to stop treatment because they believe the remaining time can be spent better with the disease than the suffering that comes with treatment.
We often have a ‘wait and see’ attitude to the things that are problematic. Maybe a solution will come along or the problem will go away. Maybe it is not serious and we can learn to live with it.
Henri Frederic-Amiel said,
What we call little things are merely the causes of great things; they are the beginning, the embryo, and it is the point of departure that, generally speaking, decides the whole future of an existence. One single black speck may be the beginning of gangrene, of a storm, of a revolution.[ii]
What do we do when we step on a nail? We go to the clinic and get a tetanus shot. The danger of infection can lead to painful complications. The prick of the needle is preferable to the disease. My diabetic friends know the danger of infection that can lead to gangrene.
Gangrene is a condition that occurs when body tissue dies. It is caused by a loss of blood supply due to an underlying illness, injury, and/or infection. Fingers, toes, and limbs are most often affected, but gangrene can also occur inside the body, damaging organs and muscles. There are different types of gangrene and all require immediate medical attention.[iii]
When gangrene sets in, treatment sometimes includes amputation of fingers, toes or limbs that have become necrotic (dead tissue).
[ii] Henri-Frédéric Amiel (1821–1881), Swiss philosopher, poet. Journal Intime, entry for Mar. 16, 1868 (1882), trans. by Mrs. Humphry Ward (1892).