We live in a society where death and dying is better off unmentioned. We understand that everyone lives and imminently, dies but we don’t seem to understand the lurking process of dying. At the start of the semester, I had in my head that my ideal death would be in sleep or while singing at church. I never gave much thought about the present condition of my body before then or the extent that my deteriorating condition would have on my family or even the bills that would need to be paid to sustain me. I never really considered dying as a process that should be planned or even discussed with my family. I just assumed it wasn’t an option. However, I learned in this class that dying can be the most costly and painful experience and that most likely, I will end up dying in a hospital and not the place of my choice with the other 70% of Americans. I learned that I live in a society where the people who should be working to sustain my life can’t even empathize with me and consequently, see me only as a barrage of vital signs. Dying is a time that should be when a person is surrounded by those who care but instead are alone and feel purposeless. I live in a society that would make it hard for me to “age in place” and solely, wants to “make gray gold”; a society that forces young women to be the primary caregiver of her elderly parents because she cannot trust that the people who are trained to take care of her parents would actually take care of them. One thing that is worth taking away from this class is making sure that I know the wishes of my aging family members. Although, having this conversation makes the inevitability of death more real, it can serve to bring our family close together now which is what really matters.
After reading the article, “Fighting to Honor a Father’s Last Wish: To Die at Home”, it makes me sad at how companies want to make money off of people who are dying. They pass them around like hot potatoes in order to obtain the most amount of money from them before they pass. It is sad to think that there are people like Mr. Andrey that just want to die at home but are prevented from doing so because they are near dying but not near enough.
What gives us the ability to “schedule” death?
In the article “Tip-Toeing towards Conversations about Death”, one thing that stood out to me was when the writer states “the hope is that when a doctor hands a patient a pamphlet, it may start a conversation.” Hoping to start a conversation using a pamphlet sounds a bit insensitive and I can only wonder what the pamphlet contains. We shouldn’t have to rely on a piece of paper to convey the emotions when should emit when speaking to a person about dying.
If emotions and empathy are characteristics that deem us human, why is it so hard for us to use emotions and empathy when approaching death?
In November 2015, a group of doctors at the Cleveland Clinic brought about a procedure that could help infertile women experience the child bearing process. This procedure of uterine transplants allows for the temporary transplanting of the uterus of a dead woman into the body of a living woman in need of a uterus. This is done so that women, who previously couldn’t experience pregnancy because they were born without a uterus or had damaged or removed it, can have the opportunity that many other women share in. However, the produced pregnancy is only possible through in vitro fertilization and requires the women to have a certain criteria like a stable relationship, good finances and needs to be in physically good health.
The development of uterine transplants can be both beneficial as well as detrimental. One very strong benefit is that women who were once told that they couldn’t bear a child can now have the opportunity to be mothers however; I feel that the introduction of this new procedure would lead to a decrease in adoption rates. Families who once adopted children because they couldn’t have any of their own can now go and get the transplant and no longer see the need for adoption. Also, the procedure is only available for those who can afford it so it focuses on the idea that only people who can afford a family should be able to have a family.
In the article A Silent Curriculum, Brooks states “As soon as racism was mentioned, conversations fizzled, highlighting the palpable discomfort in the room. These attempts to address race may be reflective of a community eager to understand these issues.” Brooks is stating that racism is an uncomfortable subject for future doctors yet the subject of race is continually sought for further understanding. Reading this quote made me think of a classroom that was predominately white with little minority representation.
If the problem is having more “relatable” medical students to be future doctors, shouldn’t the solution be to diversify medical schools by ensuring minority groups with the same opportunities as their white counterparts?
In the “Tall Girls” article by Joyce M Lee, a statement that really stuck out to me was: “problem of excessive height in otherwise normal girls is evident”. This statement consisted of two damaging words “problem” and “excessive”. This statement made it apparent to me that these young girls who had a negative view on their bodies probably believed this because of the lack of support from the adults present in their lives.
Why do we constantly interfere with biology in order to achieve our morphed sense of beauty even though we know it is not healthy? What is the lasting effect of medicalization on the youth who are taught to believe “normality” can only be achieved and not ascribed?
In the article, nutritionists are coming to a startling conclusion as to why nutrition counselors have the lowest success rates among healthcare providers. They realized that information overload is affecting their clients’ successes. This excess of information is a product of the media which creates conflicting views for clients who are trying to follow their diet schedules. The newfound information confuses clients and as a result, they quit their schedules and simply wait for a more “efficient” way to get results. People are more easily swayed by the media to believe what their nutritionist is saying is false because the effects of their diet take too long.
This article made me think of patient autonomy in a sense where the doctor(nutritionist) prescribes the medication(the fitness plan) but the patient consumer chooses to follow his/her own research. In the past, doctors had to worry about patients seeking information from credible sources but now, doctors don’t have to just worry about the self-sought knowledge of their patients but also the information gained from the media. As a media driven society, it is scary to see how the media has so much power over the consumer and even over health choices. Although the nutritionists in the article seemed very confident that consumers will realize that the media propagandizes information, if a change doesn’t happen soon in which patients can avidly rely on their doctors, then the medical advice may become nothing but countless advertisements.
In the Williams article, it was stated “Sociologists have also emphasized that science is not value-free and that preconceived opinions, political agendas, and cultural norms, consciously or unconsciously, can shape scientific research by determining which research questions are asked and which projects are funded”. However, I do not believe that race should be an opinion but a fact. Being Caribbean American, there are times where I don’t know whether to put other or “African American” as my racial identification.
Is it possible for us to go about as a society correctly classifying individuals without using preconceived judgement and assumption?
A couple weeks before school started, I went to the dentist for a filling when I told my dentist that I had broken a previous filling. I asked if he could fix the previous filling after the scheduled filling he had for that day and he simply said that I would just have to make another appointment. Being in this class had me thinking whether the intentions of my dentist were self-seeking or were they for my benefit.
There are times during lectures that I just want to hide in a box and rid myself from the healthcare mess we have created for ourselves. Then there are times in which I just want to know how it feels to be on top of the world like Big Pharma. Then I have those times where I want to rally a group of people and protest the lack of instant healthcare reform. I remember during the first week of class when Professor Guseva showed us the video about the effect of healthcare in the US. What really stuck to me was the segment of the college student that died from a disease and the mom said “it wasn’t the disease that killed my daughter, it was the healthcare system.” It makes me imagine how many people would still be alive today if it wasn’t for the healthcare system.
Upon learning about fee- for- service, I believe my dentist wasn’t trying to schedule a filling for my benefit but so he could get paid more. The average cost of filling a tooth is approximately $100-200. However, one can write a book about how terrible the United States health care system is and how we need to be like other countries. I just wish we could start over from the beginning and make healthcare a basic human right and to put an end to chargemasters and Blue Cross/Blue Shield. This class has opened my eyes to realize that simply complaining for healthcare isn’t going to give anyone any. Our society needs more people of compassion and sympathy rather that people with selfish ambitions. This class has inspired me not to become a doctor anymore but to be the wholehearted intervention people need that can prevent them from having to see a doctor in the first place.
In the article, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) set a new standard for laundry detergent pods negotiating that manufacturers alter the look and taste of the products to prevent child ingestion and inhalation of the product. The problem with the pods are that children are unintentionally being poisoned mistaking the pods for candy or a toy. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) suggested that manufacturers should make pod containers harder to open or to make containers darker to prevent visualization of pods. They also suggested that pods should be made bitter and dissolve slower upon touching saliva. ASTM concluded that they would make further changes to the standards if the products continue to cause unintentional poisonings.
I found the topic of this article relatable and of concern to me because I know of a little girl that accidentally ingested a Tide pod. Just by looking at a Tide pod, one cannot help but to squeeze or pop it so imagine what is going on through the mind of a small child. Personally, I don’t think making the pods bitter to taste will solve the problem of accidental ingestion. I think the pod containers should be equipped with a locking mechanism similar to prescription pill bottles making opening difficult or the pods should be encased in a separate plastic wrapping requiring scissors or semi-complex dexterity to open.
One can argue that companies shouldn’t make products to resemble candy or toys however, parents should pay closer attention to their children and be mindful of where they are placing harmful products. Although pods look aesthetically pleasing, people should remember that they contain dangerous chemicals. Manufacturers can only do so much to prevent accidental ingestion.