Barbara Ehrenreich on the absurd contradictions of trying to age ‘successfully’



Barbara Ehrenreich, at 77, is learning to only say no – no to the sort of intensive, intrusive medical exams which will inform her absolutely nothing, no to the books and the nostrums that say which you could reside perpetually or make your physique develop youthful, not older. Once she realized she was old enough to die, Ehrenreich, the writer of the brand new guide “Natural Causes,” stated she decided she would put up with no extra “struggling, annoyance and boredom” in pursuit of a longer life. As an alternative, the lady who also wrote the groundbreaking ebook “Nickel and Dimed” chooses the foods she likes, the exercise that suffices, and the doctor visits that tackle solely the pains she truly feels. Is American drugs — is American life — ready for this?


Do you keep in mind the moment whenever you determined that, nuh-uh, no more?

It was a choice that took an extended while. Bit by bit, I’d say, wait, why am I going to spend a lot of the afternoon in a ready room of a physician’s complicated to seek out out one thing I’m unsure I’m even going to behave on in any approach? And in addition I’m a critical individual, and I’ve a background in science, so I might lookup what the talk was amongst docs themselves concerning the specific process that was being beneficial for me. And if I found it controversial, I stated, nicely, that is in all probability a purpose not to do it.

It virtually sounds un-American; we feel obligated and entitled to stay as long as we will in addition to we will, and meaning benefiting from each iteration of medical know-how to tell us how we’re doing on the inside.

Proper, but when those issues are usually not backed up by proof, by medical science, then why are we doing it? So many issues simply within the last decade or so that have been considered absolutely mandatory have fallen into the class of questionable or not advised, like all the testing for prostate cancer, loads of debate concerning the value of annual mammograms and so forth, you go down the record.

And once I see all those debates, I say, the opposite factor I’ve to throw into this is my own subjective feeling that I don’t need to spend my time this manner.

Know-how signifies that our bodies are not opaque as they have been 50 and of course a whole lot of years ago. How has that changed drugs, and our attitudes toward ourselves?

As the physique turned less opaque, with numerous scanning procedures notably, docs started to actually really feel impatient if they might not get inside, if they might not see by means of the pores and skin. Every thing had to be revealed. And I can understand that, out of curiosity, you may need to see by means of the pores and skin, but I feel we’ve gone too far with that, with the scanning and the screening.

We have now this emphasis now on prevention, on what we will individually do to stave off struggling and dying.

It’s true. The overall ideology for about 40 years now has been, you possibly can forestall illness your self. There was a realization in the Nineteen Seventies that so most of the illnesses…



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