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a play about living with chronic illness

Written by Yvette Lu, MD.

"A young woman's fantastical odyssey
into the world of hospitals, doctors, and illness."

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For physicians and health care workers

Patients with chronic illness are a significant proportion of our practice. We're taught how to diagnose and manage their illnesses with medications, and can easily explain the current theories behind pathogenesis and prognosis. However, as health care providers, we sometimes forget that illness is more than just pathology and medical management.

The diagnosis of a chronic illness represents a dramatic disruption in all aspects of a person's life. In addition to the disability caused by physical symptoms, the patient must deal with the resulting social isolation, potential stigmatization, and loss of sense of self. Hopes and dreams are interrupted and changed, requiring people to restructure their biographies and self-conceptions. Additionally, as chronic illness is long-standing and often progressive, the patient constantly faces uncertainty and fear surrounding the future.

Most health care practitioners have a very limited perspective on what it's like to live with a chronic illness. We see our patients for short office visits which are often focused on physical symptoms. We fail to grasp how much the disease is affecting their lives. Understanding what they face on a daily basis would allow us to provide improved care and support.

How better to approach this topic than through the arts?

Theatre is an interactive, accessible, and intimate way to explore research findings. The emotional impact of immediate audience engagement creates lasting impressions and stimulates discussion. Stories from the Closet is a milestone in the emerging field of research-based theatre and its educational and emotional impact will be felt by both doctors and patients alike.


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