I’ve been quiet lately, which is sort of surprising, given how fired up I was in my last post on chronic illness and parenthood. Thank you so much to everyone who commented; your insights on an emotional and sensitive topic were so honest, and started up a worthwhile conversation. I actually have several follow-up posts in various stages of completion, so stay tuned.
This week I can’t quite muster up the right words and phrases to balance out emotion and reason. Partly, I am sick. Partly, I’m adjusting to a new work schedule and deadlines. But more than that, I find writing about any of that feels trivial in comparison to what’s happening elsewhere, particularly Haiti. So much of living with and thinking about chronic illness emphasizes the “chronic” part—the ongoing waxing and waning of symptoms, the long struggles to find balance.
And then something catastrophic happens, and the implications of the word “acute” are crystallized. So I’m doing less writing and more reading. My home state (Massachusetts, which is getting a lot of press given a certain recent election and its implications on health reform) is home to the third-largest Haitian population in the country, but unlike many, I do not have any personal ties.
Instead, my introduction to Haiti came from the pages of one of my favorite books, one I’ve discussed before: Mountains Beyond Mountains. Tracy Kidder’s narrative tale about Dr. Paul Farmer and his transformative work in Haiti with Partners in Health captivated me and so many other readers, and when word broke of the massive earthquake, PIH and the already struggling public health situation in Haiti were some of my first thoughts.
PIH’s Stand With Haiti relief efforthas many opportunities to help, and with over twenty years of experience on the ground in Haiti, the team knows how to prioritize needs. Tracy Kidder’s recent post on the Haiti earthquake is also worth a read.
With aftershocks still threatening and continued delays in getting aid to those who need it, there is still plenty of urgency and many professional and medical organizations mobilizing support.
Daily life continues in our world, and headlines about political upsets dominate, but there are things happening that transcend state and national politics, blog posts full of minutiae, or the Conan-Leno fiasco. Sometimes it's a matter of humanity.