Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: chronic illness

  • Seeking medicalization: chronic illness without diagnosed disease

    Camille Kroll Chicago, Illinois, United States   Surgical scars and the expansion of narrative possibilities. By Camille Kroll. I was wheeled into the bright lights of the operating room with the symptom-based diagnoses of chronic pelvic pain and irritable bowel syndrome. When I groggily emerged several hours later, I had a new label: someone with…

  • Navigating the waters of post-COVID survivorship

    Denise BockwoldtChicago, Illinois, United States On the TV news, COVID survivors are being rolled out of the hospital in wheelchairs, applauded and cheered on by a crowd of hospital staff. “They’ve recovered!” the reporter announces happily. It is a hopeful sign for everyone who fears this virus, and for healthcare workers a ritual that affirms…

  • The sight of blood

    Joanne JacobsonNew York, New York, United States None of us live to adulthood without seeing our own blood—growing up, I witnessed my blood flow free of my body too many times to count. The bleeding knee picked clean of leaves and gravel after my father sent me spinning down the driveway on my birthday bike;…

  • Healing through laughter

    Farrah BuiNew Jersey, United States “If there is one thing to know about me, it’s that I refuse to ever eat honey again,” Ben explains to the audience. Immediately, looks of confusion and raised eyebrows appear among the faces in the crowd. “Don’t worry, it’s not just cause I have diabetes!” he tells them as…

  • The patient writer: finding meaning in authorship and illness

    Ben Murnane Dublin, Ireland   The Two Suitcases Project involves teenagers with chronic illness working with professional filmmakers to create short movies. Storytelling methods include live action, animation, and puppetry. If a person lives with chronic illness, is there “a person” that can be separated from the illness? I suppose many people would say, “Of…