When we judge the poor the way we judge the chronically ill

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

There’s an old joke about a woman who is successfully losing weight by following a very strict diet. But one day, her hubby returns home to find her sitting at the kitchen table finishing off a Hershey chocolate bar. He says to her: “Honey! You’ve been doing so great on your diet until now! How could you eat that chocolate bar?”

And her reply:

“You don’t know how many I wanted . . .”

That response sums up a profound message that goes beyond mere diet-cheating to how swiftly we rush to judgement based simply on what we see.  Mostly, we rush to judge other adults based on actions or behaviours that are none of our business (sometimes criticism is thinly veiled as “caring”I care about you so I have to mention the chocolate bar I see you eating. . . )  We judge others because they are not like us, because they make choices we wouldn’t, or because they make choices we might secretly want to make, too – but stop ourselves from doing.

Dr. Lisa Wade’s provocative essay on how we judge those living in poverty recently reminded me of how those living with a chronic illness diagnosis like heart disease can feel similarly judged.  Continue reading “When we judge the poor the way we judge the chronically ill”

When we don’t look as sick as we feel

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

One morning, I overheard two of my co-workers chatting over coffee at the hospice palliative care unit where we’d worked together for several years. They were talking about one of our colleagues who had been off work on an extended sick leave. One said to the other:

“Oh, I saw ____ the other day. She was out riding her BICYCLE!” 

The way she said the word ‘bicycle’ stuck with me, tossed off with that pared down judgmental tone we use when what we really want to say is: “Hmph… Must be nice!”  The tone somehow implied that anybody who can hop on a bike and toodle around the neighbourhood on a sunny day couldn’t be THAT sick after all. . . . Continue reading “When we don’t look as sick as we feel”

‘Healthy Privilege’ – when you just can’t imagine being sick

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by Carolyn Thomas   ♥  @HeartSister

Have you had the experience of knowing something intuitively, but without realizing that the thing you know already has a name?  For example, have you ever found yourself limping along on the losing end of an argument, yet  only much later (when it was far too late!) you suddenly thought of just the perfectly witty retort that you should have come up with? 

There’s a name for that. The French call this l’esprit d’escalier’, literally “the wit of the staircase”.  You’re welcome.

Similarly, I’ve been writing for some time about my niggling frustration over something else that I didn’t even realize had an actual name.  Continue reading “‘Healthy Privilege’ – when you just can’t imagine being sick”