09 Complex Patients Across the Border (episode page)
Description: On this week’s episode of the podcast, In Sickness + In Health goes international! I talk to Ariane, an artist and crafter from Vancouver, Canada. She has a number of longterm, complex symptoms, but has yet to get a meaningful diagnosis. Cara describes some of the differences between the American and Canadian healthcare systems, and they talk about the challenges Ariane has faced in the Canadian system, trying to find answers to her long term symptoms, patient burnout, and figuring out how to live life beyond just coping.
Hey there and welcome you to In Sickness + In Health—a podcast about chronic illness, disability, medical traumas, and everyday uncomfortable healthcare experiences. My name is Cara Gael; I’m not a doctor or medical professional, I’m just a person and a patient who really wants to talk about this stuff more.
If you’re new to the show, welcome! Nothing said on this show should be considered medical advice. If you’re experiencing a medical issue, please seek qualified medical help. I know the system sucks, but I wish you a lot of luck. Every person is different, even within disease groups, so none of my guests should be regarded as official representatives or spokespersons for their conditions. Please respect their very personal choices, and unless they ask for it, please don’t make suggestions about treatments or lifestyle changes. As will come up again and again on this show, unsolicited medical advice is almost never not annoying.
On this week’s episode of the podcast, In Sickness + In Health goes international! I talk to Ariane, an artist, crafter, and holder of a masters degree in Health Geography from Vancouver, Canada. She has a number of longterm, complex symptoms, but has yet to get a meaningful diagnosis. Ariane talks about the challenges she faces in the Canadian health system, trying to find answers to her long term symptoms, and figuring out how to live life beyond just coping.
[Ariane clip: early life - age 20]
I hope you’ve been enjoying the show so far, I’m really enjoying hearing from you, so keep your feedback coming. A few episodes back, I joked about doing a show called POOPCAST about funny poop stories, and I want to actually do this as a bonus episode or something. You can contribute by recording and sending me your own hilarious stories, not just about poop, but all kinds of unexpected bodily excretions—so blood, urine, snot, they all work. We all have a good story or two (or three or more), and there’s no sense in keeping them to yourselves! If you have a smartphone, you can use recording apps to record and email me your stories. If you have an iPhone, I’ll have a step-by-step guide on the insicknesspod.com blog that I’ll link to in the show notes about how to do this with the built in Voice Memos app. If you would like to contribute, you can send your recordings to email@example.com.
You can also help us out by rating and reviewing us on iTunes, it helps other the people find the show. Like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram @insicknesspod.
If you haven’t yet, take a listen to the mini episode in which I over-simplify the differences between the American and Canadian healthcare systems. It’s important to understand the differences to get some of the barriers to care that Ariane has faced, and how they differ from those that a complex patient in the US might face. She was a huge help in my own understanding of the Canadian system. We don’t get a lot of good information here about other healthcare systems because these issues have been so politicized and polarized. Most of what we hear is either "Canada is amazing because healthcare is free!" or "Canada is the worst because the government *grumble grumble* and government bad, unregulated capitalism good.” Like most things, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.
I hope you enjoy this episode. We talk about living with mysterious symptoms and trying to reimagine our lives and carreers around complex chronic illness.
Ariane is very modest about Textillia, the platform she’s built with her partner, Bruno, which is an online database and community for all manner of sewing and fabric enthusiasts. The platform is a community for quilters, garment, accessory, and home decor sewists, and textile artists such as embroiderers, dyers, and people who print fabric. They can create a profile page to show who they are, what they do, and what they make; there’s a discussion forum to talk about tools and techniques, ask for help, and find other local sewists or those with shared interests; they can create business pages to sell their wares; and check out the featured content. It’s a really cool community, and their social media posts are really making me want to break out the ol’ sewing machine.
[rest of interview]
Thank you for listening to in sickness + in health. Check out the show notes for links to some of the stuff we talk about in this episode including a link to Ariane’s project, Textillia. Subscribe and stay tuned for everything we have to come, and check out our Dysautonomia Series from our first week! Let us know what you’ve liked about the show so far. Please rate and review us on iTunes, which helps other people find the show, and tell your family, tell your friends, and tell your doctors!
And don’t forget to be excellent to yourselves and each other.