Tuesday, November 25, 2014
The new me
No, the post is not about YT. I'll get to it in a moment. In passing, I don't really have anything to add about current events except that it is obviously the case that cops in the U.S. have a license to murder Black men. No possible circumstance would seem to result in prosecution.
That out of the way, I'm working on a paper now about people living with HIV. I intended to find out how much biomedical understanding they had of the virus, its pathophysiology, and treatment, but all that turned out not to matter very much to them. When I asked people, "If you had to explain to somebody what HIV is, what did you say," I'd get a lot of answers about how it is transmitted. Other responses included "It means I made a mistake," "It's not a death sentence," "It's a disease like any other, you can learn to live with it," and so on.
For most people, it took a while after they got the diagnosis for them to incorporate the new reality into their self-concept. A few people never did. Some had very negative reactions at first: attempting suicide, drinking heavily. But eventually, they sorted into people who turned it into group A -- People who responded posivitely; they felt good because they were taking care of themselves, being a role model for young people, had grown in wisdom and goodness through the contemplation of their mortality: and Group B: they remained in guilt, or anger, or despair. And it was the latter group who were less likely to be taking the pills on regularly and on schedule.
It isn't very deep wisdom that we need to make lemonade out of life's lemons, I suppose. But I wonder how well aware physicians are of this very basic truth about illness and self-care. What we need is the magic pixie dust we can throw on the people and transform them into the overcomers.