Sunday, 17 February 2013

Still Ill

I really am still ill.  Or am i?

Click to tweet:  http://clicktotweet.com/9bhb4 . Women get sick and men die.  Then there's "man 'flu", something i haven't currently got, and here's why.

Rather than making a helpful video about what to do about coughs and colds, which would make me a massive hypocrite, instead i've decided to do one on deciding to be ill.  This is based on something Jonathan Miller did in 'The Body In Question'.

There are four categories in  deciding to be ill:  threat, suffering, stigma and inconvenience.  Unless you have an illness into which you have no insight or makes you comatose, you will probably make some kind of subjective judgement about your disease based on these criteria.  A symptom or sign may be threatening, such as a lump in the breast or blood in the stools, without any of the other features.  It may be inconvenient as with arthritis or shortness of breath in COPD.  It may simply be painful or unpleasant like vomiting.  Or, it may carry a stigma with it like acne or hair loss.  Illnesses have various combinations of these features.  I illustrate this using "Pandora's Jug" and my cold, and decide i'm not ill, although you might think i am.


Incidentally, i know this is too long.

So there you go:  man 'flu (which should really be called "man 'flu'", but then it would look like a quote).  Not particularly man 'flu so much as an adaptation of a Jonathan Miller demo from the late '70s, but there is still a gender difference in the social construction of illness:  women get sick and men die.

Incidentally, just after i made this video, the glass labelled "THREAT" smashed when i tried to peel off the label and it fell into the breadbin.  Incredibly, i later cut my thumb on the doorknob in the next room when it turned out a shard of glass had become embedded in it, which is doubly weird because it was round the corner.  I don't understand how that happened.

One thing i missed out was the question of Sein versus Seiende and the ontic versus the ontological in this context.  Firstly, a common view of mental illness is that it often involves lack of insight, which means that the patient's personal construction of mental illness is that it doesn't exist.  Secondly, there are various illnesses which may not exist for the patient to the same extent as they exist for the people around them, such as petit mal epilepsy, stroke and coma, or for that matter halitosis.

This is just the beginning of the question of social construction of illness.  I wish i could think of a better way of summarising it though.

I am approaching another bottleneck.  Someone has requested a video on the doomsday argument and tomorrow's video will be on organic chemistry for Big Science.  Then it's Webcam Wednesday again and so on.  I don't understand how people can ever run out of videos to make right now, although there may come a time when i get it only too well.  There's also a video i want to make about the concept of a "double-dip".  In the meantime i have a patient tomorrow morning, Big Science tomorrow afternoon (in theory), another patient, this time a home visit in an outlying village the next morning and i'm seeing my ex on 7B, sod it, (13732) afternoon.

I now have seven dozen and five subscribers (thank you everyone!) and 70 236 views.  The meteorite video has been very successful so far but i expect it to go into decline.  I imagine a piece about winter illnesses would do moderately well although it's also a bit annoying.  I could also upload a proper video about winter infections i suppose!