My biggest understanding I got from reading Barclay’s article was that COVID-19 has a severe domino effect. What I mean by this is that there are multiple issues that arise within the hospital, economy, and even family households as a result of COVID-19. This article particularly discussed these issues within the hospital (which makes sense because receiving care is one of our top priorities). For example, Barclay claims that as young people get sick, then the elderly get sick, then ventilators and ICU beds run out, and finally hospitals reach their capacity limit. Yet, I sensed a lot of uncertainty as Barclay used words such as “plausible”, “may be” and “possible” when describing the spread of infection. I could imagine the fear experienced by healthcare workers. Their jobs were risky enough before the pandemic. Then, factoring in the unpredictable COVID-19 makes going to work at the hospital increasingly life threatening. Fear always comes with uncertainty, and every day COVID-19 presents itself with yet another unpredictable consequence. A negative feedback loop.
Even though I liked the practical approach Barclay took in explaining how we can safeguard the spread of COVID-19, I still found it frightening to see the numbers of people who’ve died from previous pandemics. I understood that each number listed was different. For example, not only did they reflect the lives of people, but they also reflect different stories, genders, age groups, and names. Thus, Barclay’s approach triggered the reader to start taking these circumstances more seriously.
She concludes her entire article by saying that one thing people can do is stay home, technically advising for everyone to self-quarantine. I’m glad that she gave the reader this final takeaway from her article. She leaves us with what is our responsibility in fighting this disease.
Barclay, Eliza, and Dylan Scott. “How Canceled Events and Self-Quarantines Save Lives, in One Chart.” Vox, Vox, 10 Mar. 2020, www.vox.com/2020/3/10/21171481/coronavirus-us-cases-quarantine-cancellation.
This drawing here has very few defined outlines, is a blur to look at, and almost seems “pieced” together. As a reader, it’s hard to comprehend what he truly looks like. This ties into one of our earliest class discussions on the patient-doctor relationship. We explored the postmodern issue of patients who lack a role in their own treatment methods. Patients themselves barely exist in any clinical assessment because modern medicine only focuses on disease mechanisms. A few ways that we’ve learned how patients can exist in medicine is through storytelling and understanding their different cultural perspectives. Thus, doctors actually need a definite body, a true image, one capable of speech to clearly communicate to the observer or they will risk walking away with only pieces of their entire tale.
Another image packed with connections to our discussions on the patient-doctor experience is of Dunlap-Shohl describing the “language of Parkinson’s.” First, this image is displayed in many boxes and could possibly cause confusion as the reader looks at one place immediately to the next. This arrangement reflects the difficulty to grasp all that Parkinson’s disease encompasses. Even the wide vocabulary of words is difficult to understand because they seem to have multiple pronunciations and many different ways to look at them. What’s even more frightening is that these are the odd conversations that circulate in the world of medicine in which doctors like to bombard patients with all the nitty-gritty medical terminologies.
A final image is one that personifies Parkinson’s disease—a green monster. There’s only one bright side to looking at this monster, and that’s that it gives the disease a meaning. Thus, Dunlap-Shohl is helping the reader identify with this disease in a way that restores understanding so that we can respond appropriately to his incredible memoir.
Paragraph 1. Image to the left
Paragraph 2. Image to the right.
Dunlap-Shohl, Peter. My Degeneration: A Journey Through Parkinson’s. Pennsylvania State University Press, 2015.
One thing I believe Kleinman wants the reader to reflect on is that, in our capitalist society, technology has been the focal point of medical treatment and progress. His argument considers a diverse range of cultural perspectives, feelings, and beliefs, and terms it as the “soft” concerns of medicine (9). Half of his reading provides the reader with examples of different culture systems across the world, which shows how much this understanding fills in “the space” between the practitioner and the patient. He provides multiple perspectives to give us multiple things to consider. It is a lesson that is needed in order to understand how a patient might view themselves as being a sick person and for doctors to provide the best treatment. In addition, several of his passages are titled “the meaning” of, whether that be of illness, sickness or disease. His intentions are to communicate with the reader that these are often times misunderstood and usually are not directly expressed.
Technology as being innovative medicine, however, is limiting and does not leave room for any of these meanings. It takes away that narrating experience, leaving the patient with “closed-ended practical issues,” because technology is used to simply control symptoms (20). This is the “radically materialist pursuit of the biological mechanism of disease.” He describes this quest as being “hard” and overvalued in medicine (9). As a result, medical workers become stiffened and unable to operate under pressures of moral perspective. It is as if we have completely forgotten that we are operating on humans, not robots.
And this is the product of a capitalist society, the current social circumstances of Kleinman’s reading and the “hot spot” that we are in.
Kleinman, Arthur. The Illness Narratives: Suffering, Healing, and the Human Condition. New York: Basic Books, 1988. Print.