Letting Go - What should medicine do when it can't save your life?
The simple view is that medicine exists to fight death and disease,
and that is, of course, its most basic task. Death is the enemy. But the
enemy has superior forces. Eventually, it wins. And, in a war that you
cannot win, you don’t want a general who fights to the point of total
annihilation. You don’t want Custer. You want Robert E. Lee, someone who
knew how to fight for territory when he could and how to surrender when
he couldn’t, someone who understood that the damage is greatest if all
you do is fight to the bitter end.
More often, these days,
medicine seems to supply neither Custers nor Lees. We are increasingly
the generals who march the soldiers onward, saying all the while, “You
let me know when you want to stop.” All-out treatment, we tell the
terminally ill, is a train you can get off at any time—just say when.
But for most patients and their families this is asking too much. They
remain riven by doubt and fear and desperation; some are deluded by a
fantasy of what medical science can achieve. But our responsibility, in
medicine, is to deal with human beings as they are. People die only
once. They have no experience to draw upon. They need doctors and nurses
who are willing to have the hard discussions and say what they have
seen, who will help people prepare for what is to come—and to escape a
warehoused oblivion that few really want.
Atul Gawande, New Yorker
On Being a No-Name Blogger Using Her Real Name
Because online harassment is still a women’s issue.
It’s a women’s issue because those goals up there–making somebody
feel afraid of speaking, making somebody feel powerless to stop what’s
being done to them, making somebody feel like the only recourse is to
shut up and hide out forever–are the goals a whole lot of men still hold
dear and work towards for all women.
You, dear male reader, are totally not one of those men. I know this, and I appreciate it. I really do. But here’s where all this victimy girl shit concerns you:
- every time you don’t tell your buddies it’s not okay to talk shit about women, even if it’s kinda funny;
- every time you roll your eyes and think “PMS!” instead of listening to why a woman’s upset;
- every time you call Ann Coulter a tranny cunt instead of a halfwit demagogue;
- every time you say any woman–Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Phyllis Schlafly, Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Clinton, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, any of us–”deserves
whatever she gets” for being so detestable, instead of acknowledging
there are things that no human being deserves and only women get;
- every time you joke about how you’ll never let your daughter out of
the house or anywhere near a man, ’cause ha ha, that’ll solve
- every time you say, “I don’t understand why thousands of women are insisting this is some kind of woman thing”;
- every time you tell a woman you love she’s being
crazy/hysterical/irrational, when you know deep down you haven’t heard a
word she’s said in the past 15 minutes, and all you’re really thinking
about is how seeing her yell and/or cry is incredibly unsettling to you, and you just want that shit to stop;
- every time you dismiss a woman as “playing the victim,” even if you’re right about that particular woman…
You are missing an opportunity to help stop the bad guys.
You’re missing an opportunity to stop the real misogynists, the
fucking sickos, the ones who really, truly hate women just for being
women. The ones whose ranks you do not belong to and never would. The
ones who might hurt women you love in the future, or might have already.
‘Cause the thing is, you and the guys you hang out with may not
really mean anything by it when you talk about crazy bitches and dumb
sluts and heh-heh-I’d-hit-that and you just can’t reason with
them and you can’t live with ‘em can’t shoot ‘em and she’s obviously
only dressed like that because she wants to get laid and if they can’t
stand the heat they should get out of the kitchen and if they can’t play
by the rules they don’t belong here and if they can’t take a little
teasing they should quit and heh heh they’re only good for fucking and
cleaning and they’re not fit to be leaders and they’re too emotional to
run a business and they just want to get their hands on our money and if
they’d just stop overreacting and telling themselves they’re victims
they’d realize they actually have all the power in this society and
white men aren’t even allowed to do anything anymore and and and…
I get that you don’t really mean that shit. I get that you’re just talking out your ass.
But please listen, and please trust me on this one: you have
probably, at some point in your life, engaged in that kind of talk with a
man who really, truly hates women–to the extent of having beaten and/or raped at least one. And you probably didn’t know which one he was.
And that guy? Thought you were on his side.Kate Harding, kate.harding.net