There is a gap in medicine that perpetuates inequality based on age. The pandemic has accentuated this inequality to a dehumanizing extent leaving many young, chronically ill and disabled people in dire health circumstances.
Young is not synonymous for health and old is not synonymous for a lack of health. But to be a young disabled person amidst the pandemic is to be left to decay until your body does not respond to conservative treatment. It is to be left to become a case that is too complex for any doctor to take on – to be bounced around through endless referrals, holding onto hope that the next one will be the one.
Being a young disabled student during the pandemic, attempting to navigate an ageist health-care system, shines a line on the potential for self-teaching and the reality of what it means when it is said that knowledge is power.
When you are caught in a system that refuses to acknowledge you or to see you as a priority in needing care, you become the person educating providers about your conditions and their eminency.
The self-portraiture series Outgrowing the Growing Pains is a reflection of what can occur when our health-care system does not acknowledge the reality of young, chronically ill and disabled people. It is, a reflection of my ongoing reality, and my attempt to educate from my own experience.
Outgrowing The Growing Pains is my relentless endeavour to ensure that my story is not repeated.