Thursday, December 11, 2008

othering the Other, again

From: Chris Kerr

I noticed your blogspot 'Ask Nicola' and was really pleased to read you're benefiting from LDN.

I thought you might like to receive a copy of a book featuring 29 case studies attributing low dose naltrexone (LDN) with improved health.

Book Title: 'Those Who Suffer Much, Know Much', July 2008

20 Multiple Sclerosis case studies
2 HIV/AIDS case studies
1 Hepatitis B case study
1 Primary Lateral Sclerosis case study
2 Cancer case studies
2 Crohn's Disease case studies
1 Multiple Benefits case study

Content also includes an explanatory article, and interviews with professionals familiar with LDN - Dr. David Gluck, Dr. Tom Gilhooly, Dr. Jaquelyn McCandless, and Dr. Skip Lenz, Pharmacist.

The book is available on free of charge, and can be freely shared forward.


I sincerely hope you're still benefiting from LDN - and if one day you have time to pen your own case study submission, I'd be happy to include it in the Case Health database, or the next book collection.

Thank you for this. I wish there was more work going on in the medical community with LDN. I think for some people it has a lot to offer. For some, of course, it really doesn't. (Because we're all, y'know, different.) LDN helps me very much in some ways, and not much at all in others--but it's cheap, it doesn't leave huge needle marks, and it doesn't make me feel (as Kelley so kindly puts it when I'm feeling, y'know, pale) like 'death on a cracker'.


When I saw the title of your collection of personal testaments, Those Who Suffer Much, Know Much, I howled with laughter. Then I realised you probably weren't being ironic, and got pissed off.

Those who suffer much, know much, yes--about suffering. Period. We don't magically turn into patient sages. In fact, when we're not paying special attention we get vicious and manipulative; pain and frustration will do that to you. Implying that people with autoimmune disease are wiser in some way than healthy people is as Othering as thinking of American Indians as noble savages, women as sweet and humane, or sick children as saintly beings. It's horseshit. It's dehumanising.

People with illnesses are not special, we're not wise or kind or saintly. We're sick. We're human. We expect to be treated like real people--just like women, and Indians, and sick children.

Fifteen years ago I wrote Ammonite to answer a simple question: are women human? It's a stupid question, but clearly it needed to be articulated and answered because so many SF novels about women-only societies assumed Girly World would be full of wise, kind, vegetarian amazons. Right. Women are not 'the softer side of the human race', we are fully human, in of and by ourselves. (You want to know more about my thoughts on the deconstruction of essentialism? Read "War Machine, Time Machine.")

I walk with crutches--my legs mostly don't work that well. There's nothing wrong with my brain. Nothing wrong with my hearing. Yet very often people at, say, the airport, will look at Kelley and ask, 'Does she need to sit down'? She, I say, is not in fucking Peru. She is right here. And she wants to see your fucking supervisor.

Every culture has a different response to illness. I think the English way is best: a frank appreciation of difference. English people will stare for a moment, then (if they're the smiling type) they'll smile (or give you the finger if they're the other type). In the airport, when I have to use a wheelchair to cross the gigantoterminal, the person pushing will say, cheerfully, "What happened, luv? Car crash?" I say no, MS, and they say, "Oh, my mum's friend's got that. Well, here's your gate. Anything else you need? No? Have a good flight." The American way is to turn away, pretend I don't exist, or to treat me like a minor: doing things for me without my permission, talking as though I'm not there, being genuinely astonished (or embarrassed) when I speak.

Okay, now I'm doing it. Not all Americans are like this. Uptight and conservative people--and the South is very guilty here--of all stripes are more likely to Other me (whether as a cripple, a foreigner, or a dyke). People in the Pacific Northwest are much more Scandinavian and pragmatical about the whole thing: huh, she can't walk, okay, what adjustments do I have to make to ensure good service/pleasurable evening/safe dentist's visit? And if they're really smart, they actually ask instead of assuming. Because, as thoughtful human beings, they know that ignoring difference doesn't make it go away, it just increases the gap between people.

I'm aware I could be misinterpreting your work. So please don't take this as a personal attack; it's more of a general rant. But do, please, change the title of your book.

** Edit. Okay, it turns out I have misinterpreted the work's title. So my apologies to Chris for that. But the general rant still stands. People are people, people. **

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