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Experience of Illness and Disability - Essay Example

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The experience of pain is best expressed in personal narratives. The ways in which people conceptualize, deal with and accommodate pain have varied across space and time. Several cultural and social factors are the foundation for the expression and treatment of pain…
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Experience of Illness and Disability
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Download file to see previous pages It also includes the behavioral responses, health care seeking, and receptivity to and adherence to the treatment of pain. Current research indicates that rheumatoid arthritis is a highly complex problem and involves sociological, economic and psychological variables, in addition to the traditional medical components.
Pat, aged 46, attends a private clinic for pain relief. Pat comes from a simple family background. When he became a teen-ager, he left for the City of London to seek work in order to send money home. In London, he married Kate, who is also of Irish descent. He worked as a postman in London for twenty years. He raised his family in rented rooms with their two children. He had to work hard and he mostly did over-time work in order to support his family. Finally, the couple built their own home with the help of Kate's dad. He had felt the first sensations of pain during that time which persisted up to the present. He had chronic back pain. So he began taking ibuprofen and he carried on with this work. Then when the Mail Department was reorganized, he moved to a desk job. That was when the bouts got more frequent and painful. His doctor, a general practitioner told him that he had been carrying his post-bag wrong all those years. His doctor kept giving him repeat prescriptions for painkillers and he kept complaining they didn't work. He started taking ibuprofen, a painkiller drug. Then he started having days off at a stretch, so he could undergo some tests. Since all the tests of the doctor were inconclusive, he sought the help of an osteopath. The osteopath was professional and put him through a lot of painful manipulations but he seemed to lose interest after a while. His officemates complained about his time off from work. Kate and his kids were very sympathetic. He goes to see a psychologist who believes that his pain is real. He is comforted when the psychologist affirmed his pain.
Pat's narrative is important to his recovery. By uncovering a means of interpreting the illness, he can re-establish the relationship between himself, the world and his body. (Williams, 1984). The narrative reconstruction is focused on gaining meaning and import to the illness by placing it within the context of one's own life and to reconstruct the narrative of the self (Frank, 1995). Drawing up a narrative of one's chronic illness within the framework of one's own life history makes it possible to give meaning to events that have disrupted and changed the course of one's life (Williams, 1984). When individuals are unable to achieve this, identity issues remain unresolved. The ways in which illness effects self-change has been explored through narratives (Frank, 1995). There are three types of illness narratives: restitution, chaos and quest. Restitution involves seeking to return to the former self, chaos depicts an inability to interpret and make sense of the illness and quest, seeking to achieve a new self that draws on the experience of having suffered. In this case study, Pat's narrative reflects the restitution type where he seeks to return to his former self.
Identity reconstruction takes the premise that loss of self is a fundamental consequence of chronic illness. Pat aspires to see the end of his pain. In the last few paragraphs of his narrative, he states that after the acupuncture, daily massage from Kate and a dram of whiskey, he is able to sleep well and face a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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