Naturally dealing with the hardships of the home country would make them more protective and careful because there was so much danger. They would naturally have been less extravagant because they would have known pretty severe hardship in the Ukraine. Then they would have developed a sense of unease around Americans who did not have the same background because of the relationship between the Western world and Eastern Europe following World War II. This fear led to my father being raised not being allowed to explore his neighborhood alone and being encouraged to interact only with other Ukrainian immigrants, severely limiting his relationships. This caution naturally enough was passed to me as a young child.
IV. Issues of Wellness:
In my family's background, the maternal side has been Americanized for enough generations that there are few culturally-based hesitations towards seeking medical attention through western means such as hospitals and doctors. My Ukrainian background has far more to do with culturally biased attitudes against western medicine. In Ukraine, there is a very large difference between their medical practices and those of the western world and that is still true today (Styles 2012). In the past, faith healers and home remedies would often be the best way to treat various illnesses and injuries when in the Old Country. If a person was so ill that they required something other than basic home remedy, then a person from the family would go to a doctor, usually in a larger village and would acquire medicine based upon a description of the symptoms, often without the medical practitioner even seeing the patient at all. In modern Ukraine, people can go into a pharmacy and get medication for illnesses. They can do this often without seeing a doctor. Prescription medications and controlled substances can be acquired by many people without the intervention, advice, or approval of medical professionals. Such can be the same for physical, mental, or emotional conditions. This shows exactly how the culture difference exists between west and east.
The culture clash between western and eastern peoples has had a profound effect on my family. Given the fear of western medicine that my family has from a cultural perspective, I am not surprised that many, even those born in the United States, are reluctant to seek professional medical attention on a regular basis. Could I give advice to my family members and following generations, I would ask them to reconsider seeking attention. Instead of viewing it as a cultural issue, I would ask them to think first and foremost of what is best for their health.
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