Link Roundup: November 16th, 2018

Hi all! It’s Jay. I do a link roundup (almost) every Friday. If you encounter a link you think I might want to share, please tweet it at me or Chronically Lit.

Chronically Lits link roundup
Image text: Chronically Lit’s Link Roundup: the best illness writing online

The days I don’t want to kill myself
are extraordinary.

It’s not often you see a poem with an opening like that! Read “Hammond B3 Organ Cistern” by Gabrielle Calvocoressi in the New Yorker.

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It’s possible that my classmates understood what I was feeling even more than I thought at the time: Nursing students have a higher prevalence of depression than the general population. The prevalence of depression in medical students was also higher than the general population, at over 27 percent according to a 2016 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“The Unique Struggle of Being a Nurse with Depression” by Risa Kerslake in Broadly shows a perspective I don’t see often. I think, as a patient, it can be easy to forget that many of the medical professionals treating us are dealing with their own physical or mental health problems.

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On Wednesday, the NRA took issue with the ACP, which represents more than 150,000 internal medicine specialists. “Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane,” the group tweeted.

Maggie Fox writes about a twitter clash between the NRA and doctors for NBC News. I clicked through the various tweets, hashtags, and replies, feeling both unsettled and fascinated. I don’t often see doctors engage in social activism.

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The University of Notre Dame accepted James for this year’s freshman class. It was his first choice for an undergraduate education. No financial issues blocked him from going, no last-minute academic problems emerged during his final days of high school. But James is not attending Notre Dame; he is now a student at another top university. He was forced elsewhere because Notre Dame insisted that, to join the class, James (not his real name) had to increase his risk of dying.

As a faculty member of a university, reading “Epilepsy, my life-threatening condition, is not your ‘undue burden’” particularly saddened me. Kurt Eichenwald writes about the epileptic student Notre Dame wouldn’t allow to live in a single dorm for Stat. James, the student, wanted to attend Notre Dame, but to have a roommate would disrupt his sleep schedule and increase his chance of death, according to his doctor. Notre Dame claimed that giving him a single room would create “an unreasonable burden” for them, meaning it wouldn’t be considered a “reasonable accommodation” under the ADA.

I am curious who, exactly, made that judgment call. And why. Hopefully they will get a lot of bad press from this and learn their lesson.

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I forget the size of the children I delivered, but I never forget the size of my own tumor. Christine’s is bigger. I break out in a sweat. The blood drains from my face. She will need a mastectomy, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy. She will lose her hair, as if that’s important when she might lose her life. I wish I had a wand to wave it all away. Like many women I want to retreat into a fantasy land where magic can heal and turn confrontation into a calm conversation. Instead I rouse my dormant hope and force myself to believe in a complete recovery for Christine. And I resolve to renew my request for an MRI and genetic testing—a request which will become a demand if not granted.

CAN-CER-VIVE” by Elizabeth Ann Reed in The Rumpus is a cancer narrative told differently from what I usually see. Rather than following her own diagnosis, the essay is written in time with her sister’s diagnosis. Reed reflects on the anxiety her sister’s causes her, as well as the thoughts she has about her daughter, and doctor.

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Lindsey Eaton, 24, is from the Phoenix area and works for the Arizona School Boards Association. She has autism, which, she said, she doesn’t see as a diagnosis: “I see it as awesomeness.”

Eaton describes herself as very independent, “but I still need help with some things like laundry, budgeting, and getting to work.” She used to live with her parents despite wanting to live on her own.

Sophie Haigney writes about the first apartments for autistic people in City Lab. The apartments are located in Phoenix and sound pretty cool. They offer a chance for people to live independently while having 24/7 access to help if needed.

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The Highland Park lawyer told her cousin Amanda Martinsen, an elementary school teacher, about her fears that Nora would spend her life isolated and friendless. That’s when the light bulb went on: Why not introduce children with disabilities to other students through a concerted program in schools?

This short article in Chicago Magazine shines a spotlight on The Nora Project, a program that helps K-12 students interact with, better understand, and befriend their disabled peers.

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[P]eople with chronic illnesses, mental health concerns and disabilities — not to mention people suffering from the seasonal flu — are less likely to vote. One study estimates that over 3 million voters in the United States did not vote in the 2010 elections due to the so-called “disability gap” in turnout. (One notable exception: Having cancer is associated with an increased likelihood of voting, according to multiple studies.)

I had never heard of the “disability gap” in voting, but it make sense. This research roundup in Journalist’s Resource goes on to state that this gap in voting might lead to a “health bias” in policy-making, which can create a negative cycle: increasing health disparities may produce increasing inequalities in policy representation, which in turn produces policies that may be detrimental to the unhealthy, which in turn creates even greater health disparities, and so on.


Jay Vera Summer is the Editor in Chief of Chronically Lit.