Saturday, October 28, 2006

Keep 'em at home

Did you see Michael J. Fox being interviewed by Katie Couric this week? Amazing. He thinks he’s still a star. He’s not staying where those who have disabilities should stay – in the far background. He’s out in public with his spastic movements and repudiating mean comments about his political videos. He’s there in front of the camera as always he has been, getting our attention and making a fool of himself.

And, it’s just as effective now as it was when he was starring in movies. Amazing, isn’t it, that someone with such a disease could be so personable and so honest? He just won’t stay where he belongs – at home, out of sight. Ever since Betty Ford went public about her alcoholism, prominent people are admitting to their infirmities. I just don’t know what the world is coming to when we can’t watch television without having to see someone who has survived breast cancer or drug rehab (ask me about them again after they’ve been clean for 15 years) or some other unmentionable thing.

Of course, their public admittance of their problems may have saved many lives and influenced many people to get help who would otherwise have suffered in silence at home. People who used to peek out from behind curtains and sneak into the closet when they went to work are now being their own humiliating selves wherever they go. My grandmother would be horrified and say we should not even look at such things lest we shame the person. Don’t embarrass him/her by looking; pretend nothing is wrong, and, if you must speak, keep it impersonal and brief. Don’t get involved.

Personally, I think it’s about time we got involved and spoke to those who have been shunted to the sides of society. When will we see pictures of a debutante in a wheelchair or with Downs Syndrome? And, what’s this spat over which bathroom the transsexual in the House of Commons should use? Who cares?

Much is made about the increasing incidences of mental illness and other diseases such as autism in recent decades. Don’t you think that we are able to diagnose those things better and that less stigma is attached to the diagnosis? Are there really more autistic children or do we just understand the disease better? Perhaps both. Perhaps, we are creating an environment where neurological abnormalities happen more often.

Diagnoses of many diseases are still intuitive in spite of the many tests we have developed. But, families are no longer willing to hide their symptoms under a basket. They are asking for the intuitive thinking of internists and specialists. I can’t watch House on television because the tension makes me want to scream, but he’s using all the resources he can have in order to help people. We need more doctors and more people who are not afraid to use their intuition along with the facts to make decisions.

People with disabilities and illnesses, like Michael J. Fox with Parkinson Disease, are telling the world the facts of their problems and using intuition to help find solutions. They are brave in the face of societal shunning and horror.


MadPriest said...

Hang on a minute.
There's one House of Commons and it's in England.
There's one transvestite with toileting problems and she's in the ITALIAN parliament.

Please. We like our tranies in England. In fact, for years it was the only way to get away with being gay over here.

sharecropper said...

Sorry, Madpriest. Just shows how much retention I have in my reading.

C. Robin Janning said...

Maybe the crime here is narrow-mindedness. Not just me and mine, but you and yours. "Us" has Parkinson's Disease. "Us" has AIDS. "Us" suffers from deep depression. "They" get's a kind (we hope) nod of the head. "Us" is embraced and cherished and healed (we hope).

sharecropper said...

Much of this article is tongue-in-cheek because I suffer from some of the complaints that I included under "they", and I'm also guilty, very guilty, of bias and of seeing bias in the community in which I live. We live in hope of healing and love and acceptance, but, here, that's just not happening. I apologize if I offended you by my poor choice of pronouns in places. My writing is not well edited - ever...just stream of consciousness with a bit of spell checking (sometimes). Thanks for your comment.

C. Robin Janning said...

Oh my, I should have been much more careful in my words. The "here" and narrow-mindedness was SO not in reference in to your posting which I found 100% valid and straight on. The "here" I referred to was our current culture, our "societal shunning and horror." I made deliberate errors in grammar to change what I perceive as the societal focus of "me and mine."

I should have been much more careful in my writing and I am appalled and ashamed that I left you with an impression other than the one I felt -- which was one of deep and spiritual agreement.

I apologize. Humbly. In trying to restrain myself from calling, for instance, a talk-show host, an idiot, I made an idiot of myself. Please forgive me.

sharecropper said...

Hey, now that we agree, let me say that your artwork is fantastic. I love it! I've just taken up painting with acrylics and am enjoying it very much. Best to you.