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The lay Wit by Sussie Monahan - Essay Example

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The play Wit (W;t) by Margaret Edson won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1999. Margaret Edson wrote her play after she had an experience working at the AIDS-oncology research hospital as a unit clerk. …
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The lay Wit by Sussie Monahan
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Download file to see previous pages The play Wit (W;t) by Margaret Edson won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1999. Margaret Edson wrote her play after she had an experience working at the AIDS-oncology research hospital as a unit clerk. Though it might be a very low-level job in a hospital, but it gave the author an opportunity to witness many things first hand, both the actions of doctors and caregivers as well as reactions and feelings of patients. There are many themes that are brought to the light, vital themes for any human being. The lead theme of the play is the topic of life and death, Salvation Anxiety, lives’ values, human relationships, dignity etc. However, there is much more to the play. It stirred widespread interest among not only general public and critics, but also attracted a lot of attention of the physicians. The play was reviewed in medical journals – a very rare occurrence for a play. Furthermore, the play being used in the curriculums of medical students to improve the patient cares. There are number of issues being pointed out – the balance between therapeutic care for the patient and having him as an object of medical research; medical ethics, relationships between doctors and patients. However, the author also reflects on the role nurses have in a medical system.Susie Monahan, the primary care nurse, does not have any higher education than a nurse school. Unlike doctor Jason Posner, she never attended the university and do not know anything about poetry – the specialty of the patient she is taking care of, professor Vivian Bearing. And at times Susie has to face it – there are times when her lack of education is pointed out in some way, like in conversation she had with Vivian before giving her injection of morphine. VIVIAN.I trust this will have a soporific effect. SUSIE. Well, I don’t know about that, but it sure makes you sleepy. This strikes VIVIAN as delightfully funny. She starts to giggle, then laughs out loud. SUSIE doesn’t get it. SUSIE. What’s so funny?...Oh! It’s that ‘Soporific’- means ‘makes you sleepy’. SUSIE. It does? (p.48) In Mrs. Bearing’s flashback, this very word brought a joy of discovery when she was a child, and launched her career. Susie was happy this blunder brought some joy to the suffering patient, she joked about her own ignorance. (p.48) Mrs. Bearing being subjected to a number of tests, examinations and treatments become just a research object for doctors, who treat her with great indifference and very impersonally. A distant formal greeting and a formal answer, - “How’re you feeling today?” – “Fine” - that is an usual interaction between Vivian and her caretakers despite her obvious condition and circumstances. At times young Dr Posner has to be reminded that Vivian is a human and has to be treated accordingly. Susie Monahan is always polite with her patient, even if it might seem useless to Posner. “JASON. Like she can hear you. SUSIE. It’s just nice to do.” (p.49) The only comfort Dr. Bearing receives is from the primary nurse, the only one who actually cares for Vivian in any real sense especially when the physical and emotional pain and agony become unbearable. Susie simply wants to give health care that is in line with her professional obligations and with basic human decency. Susie notices no one visits Vivian, she offers to call anyone dear to Vivian and finally, promises she will “just pop [her] head in every once in a while to see how you’re coming.” At first, the display of kindness made Vivian uncomfortable, when Susie offered: “If there’s anything you need, you just ring” (p.21) But then with time two women form a bond, even though they are so different. This very bond provides Vivian emotional and physical support. The special relationship between the nurse and the patient was very beneficial for Vivian Bearing - a very strong woman; she walked through life all alone, having no one caring for her. She is fascinated by the words and their meanings, all through her life she thought that “ ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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