W5 Reflection: healthy/sick

What we mean by culture of biomedicine is  the interest in treating/ improving ourselves whether it be advice from a physician or personally diagnosing and following up on what you think is best. The culture is influenced by media, technologies, and pharma companies. I think this is important concept because today we have crazy science that somewhat restore sight, hearing, replace body parts, fight off infections etc. This is a huge deal in western medicine and for it not to be recognized isn’t very logical…

The Dichotomy I chose was healthy/ sick. There are many different definitions to both, my definition of healthy is most likely a little different than someone from Japan. And that’s true of all of the presented dichotomies. I view healthy as someone who actively seeks out to better themselves physically and mentally. Some could say a sick person is someone who has failed doing those things but I believe that’s simply not true. Everyone has been “sick” I think the defining difference is how severe you’re sick and if there is an external factor, how?  I think the media plays a huge role in how we determine whether we would consider ourselves healthy or sick. From lecture, the pharma companies/media are making up these false diseases saying that if you’re a women and are anxious and emotional there’s something wrong with you, you’re sick you have some weird menstrual thing, and here is how to get “healthy”.  I believe politics have a huge part in health, they make health codes, try to control and say what is a healthy proportion and what is not, fight for or against health institutions such as Planned parenthood etc. Politics controls a lot of the health industry.

Everyone is obsessed with being health, having longevity and never getting old, our society sees the sick as weak and in some cases as failures. I think that big companies take advantage of our obsession and come up/out with weird drugs to “cure” natural things – such as menstrual cycles. Everyone has a different opinion on their own health, for example some people don’t accept (for some reason) the concept of vaccinations. In turn we, who do get vaccinated regularly, see that child and mother “sick”, and even vice versa. This dichotomy is accepted because it’s always going to be there, this is MEDICAL ANTHRO, the topic of health and sickness will not be skipped over.

2 thoughts on “W5 Reflection: healthy/sick

  1. Hello Sarah,

    I agree with all of the good points in your paragraphs but I especially liked the one about your views on dichotomy. I also think that the distinction between “healthy” and “sick” is definitely an important one to establish. I think it’s important for clinicians to explain to their patients that it’s not as simple as saying “you’re sick” or “you’re healthy.” For example, a patient could have very low blood pressure and feels cold and think that he/she have some sort of a cold, but really they could just be on low hours of sleep and not eating enough sodium. So really, they’re not sick as they would be if they had a cold and wouldn’t need flu medications, but instead high sodium foods, and a good amount of sleep. Nowadays, this may not matter too much because it does not change the goal of the physician to get their patients to the healthiest state possible, regardless of what term they use to describe their state, many doctors now just write out prescriptions for medications and not really focus on the real issue. Simply observing someone through a basic exam or blood test can lead a doctor to miss a symptom or biochemical marker characteristic of a severe illness even if the person appears to be fine.

  2. I enjoyed reading your post and the interesting points you made in your dichotomy. I agree with how you see someone as being healthy or sick, which is important for medical professionals to distinguish. With all of the different viewpoints and various cultures to consider, clinicians should be able to interpret how a patient is feeling, understand how they describe their health, and then determine if they are sick and require treatment. They should also know when to make exceptions to treat someone when their cultural traditions come into play. I also liked how you brought up all of the influences that the media, politics, etc. have on determining one’s health. If doctors took these statements literally, there would be an abundance of “sick” patients. Not every bit of information shown to our society is completely true, as we should all know by now, so it is critical that doctors stick to biological facts when it comes to treating someone who is actually ill. People who believe they are sick run the risk of paying for procedures or medications that they don’t need, and ironically, risk having side effects which may require medical attention.

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