Sunday, January 11, 2009

Feeling Different:

Isolation, Invisibility and Identity

'Sometimes you're out there and you're looking alright, but nobody knows what you're suffering inside.'

Since 1908 I have had diabetes. Since that everything has changed for me. I can't work again. I was a nursing auxiliary and I really do miss work. I don't go out anywhere more than go to church, especially this time of the year when it gets dark. I don't know what I've done but my blood sugar's gone high at the moment. It makes me very weak and limbless and powerless over my body. Sometimes I think if you were feeling pain it would be better, but the way this thing make you feel is like you're living dead, man. Zombie. You have no energy. You just can't explain to anyone how you feel. Sometimes you're out there and you're looking alright, but nobody knows what you're suffering inside. - Joyce

So often I hear doctors complaining that patients don't trust them, but I feel on the contrary that we trust them far too much for our own good. I have not reached the point of believing, as some do,that doctors and medicine are inherently harmful. I do believe, however, that genuine informed consent is virtually impossible in the context of a relationship as unequal as that between doctor and patient, or that between the medical and scientific professions and the public in general.

The potential for serious abuse, including at the most extreme the taking of life, always exists. This has been said by many before me, but the experience of patients worldwide, who have dealt with doctors and the National Health Service Center over years of their lives, provides a contemporary reminder - if one is needed - that the relationship between those of us who are isck and those we look to for our healing is one in need of drastic and fundamental change.

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