With Bated Breath: diagnosis of respiratory illness

Havi Carel
2015 Perspectives in biology and medicine  
This essay recounts the author's experience of diagnosis of a rare respiratory condition in order to invite a broader reflection on the nature of diagnosis. Diagnosis is a pivotal moment in one's illness experience, and it can be viewed as both a closure of possibilities and an opening of new, unanticipated ones. The notion of anticipation is also important to the illness experience, in that anticipation and waiting characterize the illness experience generally-in waiting rooms, anticipating
more » ... ms, anticipating test results-as well as the change in one's attitude towards the future, which becomes fearsome in illness. Broken by Bad News I have been breathless for a long time. I lagged behind others when walking uphill. I became breathless when dancing. I couldn't play tennis. But I somehow convinced myself that this was normal. I was getting older-perhaps in one's mid-30s fitness drops like this, I thought? Perhaps I have "small lungs," my husband speculated. But we were both physically active, and as we were living in Australia
doi:10.1353/pbm.2015.0013 pmid:26657681 fatcat:wad4s3rmezarhemuxenr6jboua