"Illness by Havi Carel" is a good example of a paper on wellness and lifestyle. Havi Carel’ s book, Illness, was written after she was diagnosed with terminal lung disease, and is mostly about how we, as a society, see illness and what it means to be ill. Reading the first two chapters of the book, there were many thoughts that went through my mind. Mostly, I agreed with a lot of what she writes. Most of us do think that just because we make healthy choices in life nothing bad would ever happen to us.
Those who do not smoke, do not expect to have lung cancer, similarly, those who exercise (just like Carel) and maintain a balanced diet expect to live longer than those who do not. But the fact of the matter is that that is not how illness works. My friend’ s father, who came from a family of alcoholics, was a teetotaler, down to where he did not even know what alcohol tasted like, and yet was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. He had a similar reaction to that of Carel’ s; he thought it very ironic that a teetotaler from a family of alcoholics was the only one to be diagnosed with cirrhosis. The fact of the matter is that we have to change our whole life when we get ill; our habits, routines, and activities all need to be reevaluated so that we can cope better with our illness and manage it better.
I really liked the way Grazyna, a fellow sufferer, helped Carel get her act together and to start living her life within the new set of boundaries that were presented to her by her illness (p.
32-33). Sometimes we wallow in self-pity so much that we forget that even with our illness we have the chance of leading a good life – a life that would not only satisfy us but which might even be pleasurable to live. Sometimes I also wonder about the impersonal way medical professionals handle patients. I do not mean to say that they do not care, but that they do not empathize with the situation of the patient who is scared and for whom the whole process is very new and alien.
Perhaps it comes more from it being a matter of routine for the doctors rather than from lack of empathy, but it has always bothered me. It can really do wonders for the patient if the doctors, or other hospital staff for that matter, treated the patient with more warmth. What is also needed is for doctors to realize that even though it is a matter of routine for them, it is the first time that the patient has come across something like this in their lives and that they are scared.
A little reassurance and empathy would not only make them feel comfortable, but they would also not go into the treatment procedures feeling completely alone and isolated. While it is important for doctors to concentrate on healing the disease, they should also realize that there is a person that has that disease who has had their whole life disrupted due to the disease. A little thoughtfulness and understanding, and empathy, would go a long way.
ReferencesCarel, H. (2008). Illness: The cry of the flesh. United Kingdom: Acumen.