Disability and Medicine

Tidal_MarshI’ve been thinking about disability and Medicine. Somehow the idea came into my head that being disabled and doing the work of Medicine are incomparable. This idea certainly did not come from my teachers. In fact, some of them were quite ill.

Truth is, illness and disability have never disqualified healers in my view. Rather, I have marveled at their perseverance and compassion for themselves and others. So this notion of being disqualified is an enigma.

One of the ways disability becomes burdensome is in simple, everyday acts, such as drumming or even typing. My Polio hands and arms don’t like either. Nor does my voice hold up well enough to use Dragon effectively. Chanting can be both an effort and painful.

When we do ceremony outside (certainly my preferred venue) I stumble around. Last ceremony I had to work to avoid falling into the fire pit. Sometimes I imagine I see concern in the eyes of those participating.

Maybe my struggle with disability and Medicine comes, in part, from my great distrust in doctors. I have been misdiagnosed so often that I seldom believe anything physicians tell me. A good deal of the problem stems from physicians’ lack of experience with Polio bodies. My body is an enigma to me, so I understand, intellectually, the challenge I must post to most physicians. Thank goodness for Polio informed physicians and psychologists.

I like drumming and singing; I believe they are enormously helpful to me and others. I also know, at least intellectually, they are unnecessary. Limiting their use, or giving them up entirely, are simply losses, no matter how large the loss seems. The real work goes on, if we are willing to let it.


6 thoughts on “Disability and Medicine

  1. There is, of course, the concept of the Wounded Healer – people who have had and overcome an illness or trauma that enables them to better understand and help those with similar conditions. For example, many, if not all, addictions counselors have struggled with addictions themselves. I think it opens up a very special place of compassion inside of us when we have experienced something ourselves.

  2. I found your post very interesting – and understand how much work it takes to help doctors understand how some disabilities make bodies work differently and require different treatment. I need to make an appointment to get help with some nerve pain and I am dreading it – actually procrastinating. For us with body disorders, we need to continually remind ourselves of the very strong interaction between mind and body – keep drumming and singing, and rest the body when you need to. 🙂

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