Misdiagnosed: The Search for Dr. House (A Memoir) May 4, 2014Posted by Onely in Bad Onely Activities, Honorary Onely Awards, Your Responses Requested!.
Tags: chronic illness, I didn't work this hard just to get married, misdiagnosed the search for Dr House, misdiagnosis, Nika Beamon, single and sick
Copious Readers, as you can see from our previous post, we are currently exploring the topic of singles with chronic illness. As we have discussed before, unmarried people face a good deal of discrimination not only socially, but economically as well. Social security, health insurance, retirement savings plans–all of these are governed by laws that can very negatively impact singles. So we asked ourselves, what about unmarried people who have severe health problems? How would all the legal and financial discrimination affect them?
We would love guest posts on these (or other) topics from singles who are battling difficult, ongoing diseases or disabilities. But in the meantime, we are pleased to introduce you to an upcoming new memoir written by Nika Beamon, who is the author of I Didn’t Work This Hard Just to Get Married: Successful Single Black Women Speak Out and a chronic illness survivor herself. She is available for speaking engagements about her books and related topics and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more ways to follow the book, see the end of this post.
Misdiagnosed: The Search for Dr. House
WHO SHOULD READ THIS BOOK:
Anyone who has a chronic illness. (Para 1)
Anyone who has cared for someone with a chronic illness. (Para 2)
Anyone who has treated, or attempted to treat, someone with a chronic illness. (Para 3)
Anyone who has not had a chronic illness. (Para 4)
Anyone who influences health policy in the U.S. or other countries. (Para 5)
WHO SHOULD NOT READ THIS BOOK:
The faint of heart.
SUMMARY: Beamon writes raw. Her memoir chronicles her journey from a hospital-worthy hemorrage on a first date to scorching headaches to intestinal polyps to a 104 degree fever and an ongoing combination of all those symptoms, plus many many more. You the reader make the scary journey along with Beamon. Neither you nor she knows what’s wrong with her, or what freaky thing her body might do the next day. Not until the very end of the book.
1. Anyone who has had a chronic illness–even one that is fairly easily diagnosed and stabilized–has probably experienced at least one Doctor with Attitude who avoids eye contact and only half-answers your questions, especially if he or she can’t figure out what’s wrong with you. Nika meets many such health care professionals. Survivors of mysterious chronic illnesses will recognize themselves in her dogged search for someone, anyone, who can tell her what’s wrong.
2. Anyone who has cared for someone with a chronic illness will identify with Beamon’s boyfriend, Bryce. Beamon paints a stereotype-shattering picture of Bryce as both dedicated caregiver and thoughtless philanderer–at the same time. Bryce is a living metaphor for any long-term caregiver who (hopefully) loves or respects their “patient” but eventually starts to feel the strain of constant medical jargon, pills pills pills, a forlorn attitude by the sick person, and maybe, in extreme cases, the physical stress of helping the ill person move or medicate. This frustration doesn’t mean the caregiver has stopped caring about the sufferer. It just means the caregiver struggles with conflicting emotions, the confusing kind that probably encouraged (but was no excuse for) Bryce’s sleeping with other women (a habit he’d had even before her sickness). Yet he still provided invaluable support to Beamon. . . But what if she had been socially single, you ask? Well, her parents often stepped up to help as well. If she had not had a nuclear family, she would have had to rely on friends, and no matter how much her friends loved her, it might have been harder for Beamon to accept extreme amounts of help (the kind she needed) from them, because we’re just not conditioned to think of friendship that way. (Note I’m speaking my own opinion here, not referencing anything Beamon says in her book.)
3. Anyone who has ever treated, or tried to treat, someone with a chronic illness, especially a mystery chronic illness, will recognize themselves in at least one of the puzzled doctors Beamon seeks out for help–internal medicine practitioners, surgeons, gastroenterologists, neurologists, and more. They give her endoscopies, colonoscopies, pills pills pills, and more than one tube up her nose. Most of the doctors fall somewhere along the scale of mildly assholish to major prick, until. . . but I don’t want to spoil the story for you.
4. Anyone who has NOT had a chronic illness will learn from this book to feel a little less sorry for themselves when they have some dumb cold. Heck, I myself have a fairly serious chronic illness, but even I flip through the Misdiagnosed manuscript whenever I need a mental ladder out of one of my sludgy wells of self-pity.
5. Anyone who influences health care policy will–hopefully–be horrified at how much Beamon had to struggle, as detailed in all the paragraphs above. They will–hopefully–be horrified at how often she had to take her health into her own hands, seek out her own doctors, and research her own condition(s) and symptoms. Fortunately she was able to fight this battle off and on throughout her sickness–but many chronic illness survivors are not so lucky. They can’t work and must rely on disability, or they don’t have insurance, or—or they’re single, and these problems become amplified for them. Look at the crowded rooms of the startling public hospital in which Nika accidentally stays for several days; it is bare-bones, not super hygenic, and even possibly dangerous (for example, her wallet is temporarily stolen). This is where the unluckiest chronic illness victims end up–if they are poor or under-insured. Perhaps, given the legal and financial discrimination against singles, more unmarried people end up in substandard facilities than do coupled people. This study has not been done, but it should be.
Hopefully Beamon’s book will be one step towards opening the dialog about singles with chronic illness. Read it, people, and start talking! Thanks!
P.S. Keep up with Nika and Misdiagnosed here:
Photo credit: garret_33