Tuesday, April 18, 2023

"Chronically Catherine"

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Health, Medicine, Science & Society

Ed Hessler

Living With is a STAT feature which "explores the contours of life with chronic illness, from the prelude to diagnosis to new patterns of living, to wrestling with big questions about illness and health."

The April 4, 2023 publication of Living With is an interview with Catherine Ames, a student at the University of Southern California about living with a chronic disease. Her doctor once described her as "'someone with SSRT: some sort of rheumatic disease.'"

This is how Isabella Cueto begins this report.

"As Catherine Ames described it, this was quite a scene. She was hospitalized (again), and so weak and full of pain that she could barely walk. It took three Navy men holding her up to complete her daily walk around the ward. Her concerned mother hoped she wouldn't lose her balance and fall. but all Ames could think about 'was how this was the closest I'd been to cute guys in months.'

That was the beginning, the very first paragraph in the very first essay Ames, 24, wrote for the University of Southern California's student newspaper, a little over two years ago. That entry was the start of 'Chronically Catherine', a recurring column Amers has written for the Daily Trojan ever since."

In the STAT interview with Amers is reviewed by a "tumultuous journey to a diagnosis, how she's learned to find levity (with which she and her mother are well supplied) in demoralizing moments, and how disability has changed her college life." Below are the headings for each segment of the interview.

--During a pretty pivotal time in your illness, you studied abroad in New Zealand. Can you tell me about that turning point? 

--When you came back, you had a marathon of doctor’s appointments to figure out what was going on. What was that like? 

--How did you feel after getting so many opinions? 

--What kept you grounded during that period of disorientation?

--Where are you now with your diagnoses and treatment plan? 

There is a box describing the various rheumatic diseases. She also describes her struggle for health coverage/insurance. The diagnosis "lupus" is what she has for their purposes.

The interview is compelling and includes links to relevant material.

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