Determinants of Health: Lifestyle and Environment

Location

Harkins 301, Providence College

Event Website

http://www.providence.edu/hpm/Pages/Conference.aspx

Start Date

31-3-2012 11:30 AM

End Date

31-3-2012 12:45 PM

Description

This paper examines the necessary identity reconstruction for chronic pain patients through the use of illness narratives. The biographical interruption of a chronic illness, partnered with the patients’ inability to discuss embodiment and pain wholly (because language failures to capture the essence of pain and suffering) creates a devastating chasm between the world of the healthy and the world of the sick. Psychosomatic pain, and illnesses without diagnosis, are all the more divisive conditions, because these factors rob the patient further, disallowing them from constructing even an illness identity. Utilizing published patient interviews, sociological and anthropological texts, as well as illness narratives from authors such as Joan Didion, the first half of this paper explores the discourse surrounding chronic pain, reconciling it with the author’s own experience as a chronic pain patient. The second half of the paper includes interviews conducted by the author, and a discussion of the relationship between these illness narratives and the sociological expectations of the chronically ill. Through these interviews, texts, and narratives, the author explores the implications of chronic pain, which are unquantifiable. Chronic pain is a condition unto itself because it expands beyond the body, problematizing the lives of its victims, and requiring a revision of their identities. From these interviews, it is evident that illness narratives are powerful not because of the specifics of a patient’s pain, but due to the life trajectory interrupted by said pain. Ask chronic pain patients to tell you about their pain and they instead tell you about their lives—ruined vacations, lost friendships—“pain environed in a concrete world,” (Kleinman, 1988).

 
Mar 31st, 11:30 AM Mar 31st, 12:45 PM

To Live Means to Suffer: Exploring the Identity of Chronic Pain Conditions

Harkins 301, Providence College

This paper examines the necessary identity reconstruction for chronic pain patients through the use of illness narratives. The biographical interruption of a chronic illness, partnered with the patients’ inability to discuss embodiment and pain wholly (because language failures to capture the essence of pain and suffering) creates a devastating chasm between the world of the healthy and the world of the sick. Psychosomatic pain, and illnesses without diagnosis, are all the more divisive conditions, because these factors rob the patient further, disallowing them from constructing even an illness identity. Utilizing published patient interviews, sociological and anthropological texts, as well as illness narratives from authors such as Joan Didion, the first half of this paper explores the discourse surrounding chronic pain, reconciling it with the author’s own experience as a chronic pain patient. The second half of the paper includes interviews conducted by the author, and a discussion of the relationship between these illness narratives and the sociological expectations of the chronically ill. Through these interviews, texts, and narratives, the author explores the implications of chronic pain, which are unquantifiable. Chronic pain is a condition unto itself because it expands beyond the body, problematizing the lives of its victims, and requiring a revision of their identities. From these interviews, it is evident that illness narratives are powerful not because of the specifics of a patient’s pain, but due to the life trajectory interrupted by said pain. Ask chronic pain patients to tell you about their pain and they instead tell you about their lives—ruined vacations, lost friendships—“pain environed in a concrete world,” (Kleinman, 1988).

http://digitalcommons.providence.edu/auchs/2012/panelb2/1