Friday, July 17, 2009

When Doctors Get Sick

Of her book, Taylor says, "There's no new science here. We already know about the brain. What I bring to what we know about the brain is a personal experience. What does it actually feel like to be nonverbal? Cognitively, we can understand that, but it's very difficult to put ourselves in that place."

Hits the nail right on the head.  I can describe till I run out of words the experience of being unable to get off the couch when I need to go to the bathroom, but it was called "exaggeration", "laziness" and "depression" by someone in one of my groups until she herself had the experience of telling her limbs "must stand up now" and they didn't cooperate.  She finally learned that I wasn't exaggerating, there really is such a thing as Paralytic Muscle Weakness.

Similarly, my SSDI attorney, recovering from an illness, decided to take a walk, got as far as the front door, and crumpled to the ground.  Waiting for her husband to come home and get her back to bed, her mind wandered to "this is what she deals with every day", and more importantly, that I don't have a husband who carries me back to bed and brings me dinner; I need to figure out my own way back to bed and do without dinner.

It's those experiences that make people more empathetic.  Makes them realize what heroes we truly are for doing as much as we do.  They become amazed at how much you actually do accomplish within your limitations rather than (as previously) looking at the long list of things you couldn't do.

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