Sunday 31 July 2016


2016-31:  Lloyd Douglas:  Dr Hudson's Little Manual of Advice

Lloyd Douglas [1877-1951]
Lloyd Cassel Douglas [1877 – 1951] was an American minister and author. He was born in Columbia City, Indiana, spent part of his boyhood in Monroeville, Indiana, Wilmot, Indiana and Florence, Kentucky, where his father, Alexander Jackson Douglas, was pastor of the Hopeful Lutheran Church. Douglas was one of the most popular American authors of his time, although he did not write his first novel until he was 50.
His written works were of a moral, didactic, and distinctly religious tone. His first novel, Magnificent Obsession, published in 1929, was an immediate and sensational success. Critics held that his type of fiction was in the tradition of the great religious writings of an earlier generation, such as Ben-Hur and Quo Vadis. Douglas then wrote Forgive Us Our Trespasses; Precious Jeopardy; Green Light; White Banners; Disputed Passage; Invitation To Live; Doctor Hudson's Secret Journal; The Robe, and The Big Fisherman. The Robe sold more than 2 million copies, without any reprint edition. 

Excerpt 1 from Dr Hudson's Secret Journal:

A Little Manual of Advice to Patients in Hospitals

November 14, 1913, 8.30 p.m.

...I have often wondered if it might not be an interesting experiment, in a hospital, to hand each patient—on arrival, or as soon as he is able to read anything—a little manual of advice.

...There is a wide-open market here for some friendly talk to these unhappy guests. The little booklet might run something like this:

We are honestly sorry for people who are obliged to undergo discomfort, pain, and boredom, in this hospital. But it is not our fault, either, that you encountered the illness or accident that brought you here.

consider this place as a friendly refuge
This is not a hotel. Hotels must pay their own way or close up. Hospitals do not pay their way, but they do not close up; for, at the end of the year, the deficit is absorbed by a company of kind-hearted people who believe that we are trying to do our best. We hope you will share in this belief; for it is important to your comfort—and perhaps also to the promptness of your recovery—if you consider this place as a friendly refuge; not a mere money- making repair-shop.

our nurses are well trained
Our nurses are well-trained. Part of this training is in the control of their personal feelings. If they do not seem very much upset over your gas- pains, that does not mean they are indifferent: it means only that they are disciplined. They have many distasteful tasks to perform, and they do them without showing how they feel on the subject; but that does not mean they are insensitive. They are just as human as anyone else; have their own little frets and forebodings; their days of disappointment and depression. Sometimes a patient's cheerfulness will help a nurse to a fresh grip on herself.

your doctor wants you to get well
Your doctor wants you to get well as rapidly as possible. In this matter, you and he share the same wish. He will appreciate your full co-operation. Some morning when you are feeling unusually well, you may offer him a little witticism, and be dismayed to note that he fails to respond to it. But that isn't because he is indifferent. More likely it is because he has just put in an hour and a half of tense and trying service in the operating-room; and he doesn't feel jocular. If he can sense your sympathetic understanding of his mood, your attitude will be of much benefit to him.

believe in the skill and sincerity of the doctors
In short—if you want to get the largest degree of satisfaction out of your experience in this hospital, join hands with us, almost as if you were a member of the organization. If you believe in the hospital, and in the skill and sincerity of the doctors and nurses, you will not be troubled by the little vexations and irritations which menace the peace of many patients.
Perhaps we, who are devoting our energies to the care of the sick and injured, should be contented if we were able to dismiss you fully restored and sound as you were before. But we have an ambition still higher than that. It would gratify us immensely if—when you leave us to resume your activities—you might go out not only repaired physically but reinvigorated in mind and heart.
learn in the be a good soldier
In the normal ways of an uneventful life, people do not often have a chance to find out how much pain they can endure, or how long they can wait. Here they can take their own measure, and discover their strengths. Many a man, in peace- time, has wondered how stalwart he might be on a battle-field, facing danger, risking agonies. Circumstances may provide him a chance to learn, in the hospital, whether he has what it takes to be a good soldier. 

you can do yourself a good turn
We do not conduct these examinations. The patient examines himself, and marks his own grade. Ever afterward he will be pleased and proud if he passes with credit. No matter what may happen to him, in the future, he will always know exactly how much disappointment, anxiety, inconvenience, and pain he can stand. It's worth something to a man to find that out. So—if you have been informed that the doctor is taking out your stitches to-morrow, you can do yourself a good turn—that will last you all your life—if you face up to this in the morning without flinching. 

You have always wondered, when you saw others in trouble, whether you could take it. Now you know. It's a very gratifying thing: almost everybody finds out that he is braver than he thought he was. It's worth going through a lot of perplexity and pain—just to be assured on that matter.

enforced leisure of a convalescence
Sometimes people who hadn't succeeded in making anything very important of themselves—either inside or outside of themselves—have discovered, during the enforced leisure of a convalescence, certain neglected gifts which they have thereafter exercised to their immeasurable satisfaction.
In many instances, this self-discovery has resulted in such a marked expansion of interest and success in after-life, that the beneficiary has wondered whether Destiny had not shunted him off his course in order to let him take stock of his resources.

we think about it a great deal
We suggest, therefore, that you give a little thought to this subject while you are with us. 

Was it an accident? Was it a misfortune? Was it a mishap that brought you here? Think this over. We think about it a great deal.


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