Friday, August 8, 2008

BITTERSWEET PAIN (Inspiration for the ill)

Because I do not look chronically ill, I sometimes get skeptical looks when I tell someone I have a chronic physical illness. Occasionally I've been told that it's "all in my head." For the rest of my life I will always endure some level of physical pain. It's unfortunate that my life, already full of unimaginable difficulty, has to be further complicated by the naive judgment of others. In a lot of ways, I know they are only products of their culture...

Joy H. Selak and Dr. Steven S. Overman's book You Don't Look Sick: Living Well with Invisible Chronic Illness investigates America's view on long-term illness. The authors specifically discuss Patricia Fennell's perspective on culture of misunderstanding. "First, Fennell notes, Americans are intolerant of suffering, assigning it no value, and expecting that it be done in silence. Suffering is often believed to have a psychological cause, and is therefore assumed to be a person's own fault. Second, western culture is intolerant of ambiguity, an element common to chronic illnesses, where often neither the cause nor the cure is known. Third, chronic illness is unpredictable and resistant to the high-tech quick fix our achievement-oriented society has come to expect."

Suffering can have a lot of value. Beautiful wisdom can be gained from hardship.

It's important to find physicians who will give patient and continuous care, because there is no quick-fix for chronic illnesses. Thankfully I've found doctors who work relentlessly to help ease the physical pain I'm constantly experiencing, and who continually research the newest and most effective treatments for my illness.

1 comment:

Cheryl Zelenka said...

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