On Lifespan, you’ll hear stories about encounters with the health care system. Each show contains stories bound by a common theme – a person’s personal journey through a particular type of medical trauma. The stories are deeply personal. Some stories reflect a person’s response to treatment and other stories simply reflect on the aftermath of an illness. Even when multiple people are describing their experiences with the same disease, condition or treatment, each account is unique. If the subject of this podcast interests you, please subscribe to Lifespan wherever you access your podcasts. You can also listen to Lifespan at WOUB.org/listen.
Bob Simpson and Estelle Carol have been together for almost 50 years. They have two grown children. Before retirement, Bob was a high school history teacher. Estelle is still working as a graphic designer. For decades, they also combined their talents to produce syndicated political cartoons under the byline Carol Simpson. Then, in 2016, Bob had a stroke. In this episode of Lifespan, Bob and Estelle share their story. n
“Choosing Down Syndrome”
Chris Kaposy and Jan Beattie have three children: Elizabeth, 14, Aaron, 11, and Ty, 7. With each pregnancy, Jan and Chris decided in advance to refuse prenatal testing. But when Jan was pregnant with Aaron, her first ultrasound at 19 weeks showed some markers for Down syndrome and she and Chris had to revisit their original decision about prenatal testing.
Chris is a biomedical ethicist and Jan is a nurse, so they brought unique forms of medical knowledge to the series of questions they had to ask and answer quickly. Since Aaron’s birth, Chris has written the book, Choosing Down Syndrome: Ethics and New Prenatal Testing Technologies.
In this episode of Lifespan, Jan and Chris talk about their family, disability, and society.
For a link to Chris’ book, visit: https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/choosing-down-syndrome
“Depression in the First Person”
Anna Mehler Paperny is a Canadian journalist who has worked for Reuters, The Globe and Mail, and Global News. She’s won awards for her investigative journalism. And she’s struggled with major clinical depression for most of her adult life, attempting suicide several times.
On this episode of Lifespan, Anna talks about her experience of mental illness, the stigma of mental illness, and the history of the treatment of mental illness.
Anna’s courageous, compelling, informative book, Hello I want to Die Please Fix Me: Depression in the First Person, was recently released in the United States by The Experiment. Read a review of Anna’s book here :
“Grievous Loss: Death of a Spouse”
Steve Bild, Renee Pollock, and Mary Costello have all lost their longtime spouses. In this episode of Lifespan, they describe their spouses’ lives and legacies, their partners’ deaths, and their own adjustment to living in the aftermath of grievous loss. Steve, Renee, and Mary also offer advice to others coping with similarly profound loss.
If you want to view Steve’s wife’s art, you can visit Mary Ellen Croteau’s website at https://www.maryellencroteau.net/.
You can read Renee’s blog at https://reneerocks.blog/.
“A Tale of Two Recoveries: Alcoholism and Co-Dependence”
Debbie and Doug have been married for more than 40 years. In this episode of Lifespan, Doug talks candidly about his addiction to alcohol and his ongoing recovery. Debbie describes the meaning and effect of co-dependence, and the invaluable help she received from Al-Anon. Doug is now a substance abuse counselor, so his description of his recovery offers professional as well as deeply personal insight into the disease of alcoholism.
“Three Cancers/Two Cultures”
In the last 16 years, Bernhard Debatin has had three different types of cancer. Physicians in Germany treated his first cancer successfully; physicians in the United States successfully treated the other two. In this episode of Lifespan, Bernhard describes patients’ experience of cancer and its aftermath, and reflects on how culture, healthcare systems, and even language shape our experience and view of illness, treatment, and recovery.
Personal Stories with a Punch
It is really interesting to take a detailed look at our health care system from the perspective of someone else's experience with it. I loved the first episode "An Accident" and I can't wait to hear more...Please keep the good work coming our way.