I’m-patient… Illustrations is an attempt to illustrate and interrogate a range of patient experiences. The point when the enormity of science and medicine and fate coalesces in a moment. Then becomes a way of life.
The result is both illustrations that reflect on my, and others’, experience of being a patient (specifically my dad’s experience of vascular dementia - see the Gallery ‘Patient Experince’), and the development of my own graphic pathography (see the Gallery ‘Diabetes: Year One’) that charts what I consider the fragments of becoming and being a patient.
A statement: “you have type 1 diabetes” is a moment of inhale; a shock to get over. But then you think - so what? What does that mean? It’s not like you have a cold, or flu – there’s no frame of reference.
Drawing on my own experience I have sought to address that question.
With my diagnosis I tumbled into a wonderland – with my certainty, and sense of who I am questioned. The habits and tendencies that define me as an adult - as the person I thought I was, are part of the problem - and the solution. Personality is part of pathology, and perhaps, key to finding the way through.
These additional images explore the issues of the body and identity I have confronted through exploring my diagnosis, as I begin to make sense of my new life – and new body.
For myself understanding and education has been an attempt to control and manage type 1 diabetes through the shock of fear and bewilderment. For others I hope the work allows a glimpse into some specific experiences of being a patient, and from that contribute to the discussion of what that means more widely, and how we can use personal experience to inform treatment.