Jan 22, 2006

Blog Wars


I never would have thought writing this in response to Dr. Charles story about a Trisomy 21/Down Syndrome patient would have started a blogging war:

"I've always believed that Down's syndrome patients are "God's golden children". I can't remember where I got that title but I can tell you, I've never met a sufferer who was unlikable or mean-spirited. They just emit happiness.I love this story."

I'm not the bad guy here, am I? I'm about to be a medical professional and I'd like to think that I would treat all my future patients wth the utmost respect and dignity, chromosomal differences or not.

Is this really about being Politically Correct?

I'm guilty for not being politically correct, behind closed doors. But in public, If I'm not sure about a "correct" term, usually I'll say nothing at all. But frankly, since I'm being honest, Political correctness as a whole irritates me to no end. Changing the name of something or a term that has been used for decades maybe centuries doesn't change what it is.

I can't keep them straight. I joked in my comment box in my last entry about having a PC handbook. I kind of wish I really did own one.

However, some things can be offensive to some and not to others even when they are in the same boat. You can't please everybody.

I'm truly sorry if my above statement offended, I really am.

However, I still truly can't understand why saying someone or someone's are not unlikable, meanspirited, and happy is a BAD thing.

But I'm the kind a person who doesn't nitpick and tends to look at the big picture in every situation.


At 17:39, Blogger mary said...

No, you are not the bad guy. :-) But you have mentioned two things in your post that are guaranteed to set a parent's teeth on edge (the parent of a kid with DS, I mean!) and that is:

1) you used the word "suffer" and Down syndrome together. And really, here is the honest truth: they aren't and don't. They are not "sufferers" and they don't "suffer". They have 47 chromosomes in each cell; you have 46 (probably). You do not suffer from di-somy 21, and they do not "suffer" from tri-somy 21.

They HAVE Down syndrome. Don't say "suffers from", it is like fingernails on a chalkboard to many parents.

Now, on to the far more important #2:

2) You said they were sweet angels of God (or something like that, I'm paraphrasing). And while this seems like a nice and sweet and innocent (and often true!) thing to say, in reality, this kind of stereotyping is harmful. People with mental retardation in general and DS in particular are whole human beings, and have a whole range of human emotions and are incredibly individualized. As are we all. To imply that all people with DS are sweet angels is to deny their full humanity.

It's nice, but it's limiting.

It's also not actually true. Remind me to tell you about the time Emily put our cat in the dryer. Luckily she couldn't reach the "on" button...


Please do not take offense. Language is powerful. It's not about political correctness. And words can cause reactions because they can be loaded with meaning for certain subgroups. I personally have decided to have a thick skin and judge people on intent not verbage. But I am 15 years into this journey, and have a foot on both sides of the bed, so to speak. I understand because I was once only a nurse who had never had a kid with DS. And now I am a nurse with a 15 year old kid with DS. And so along with gray hair came a certain amount of understanding of the issue.


At 20:13, Blogger Jo said...

I stand corrected and your correction was graciously put. Thank-you.
I am also sorry for using the word "suffer". As you know, it's used so often in the medical field to describe how a patient has a diagnosis, the terminolgy often melds together. Ecspecially after listening to lecture after lecture and case study after case study.

Emily put the cat in the dryer? How long was he in there before you noticed?
I've actually turned mine on with the cat in it (she snuck in when I wasn't looking) She was unharmed but dizzy since I heard the first thump and immediately opened the door.

At 18:54, Blogger mary said...

Well, the cat liked to sleep on top of the dryer anyway (as many respectable cats seem to do), so I didn't think too much of it when I heard the loud meowing coming from the region of the dryer. I just thought, "the darn cat is on top of the dryer again and can't get out the door" (the dryer being upstairs behind some closet doors). Finally he would not be quiet so I went to check. That was ONE MAD CAT.

So...I don't really know how long he was actually in the dryer. On top of the clean clothes in there, of course, which had to be rewashed. Emily, though, found it hysterically funny.

WHY she thought the cat should go in the dryer, I'll never know.



At 08:26, Blogger WI Catholic said...

Your heart was in the right place, Jodi. Today, there are so many who do not know/understand Down Syndrome, and many expectant mothers are strongly being encouraged to test for it and then encouraged to abort. Though I have taken care of many cognitively disabled patients/residents over my many years in nursing, and nearly 12 years as an RDH, most of my favorite people have been those with Down's. They are each unique people, with different levels of skill. But since I was a young nurse and met my first surgical patient who greeted me with a loud "MY NURSEE!" and huge bear hug...I have had a special place in my heart. As an RDH, I had two middle aged men who would take my arm and 'escort me' back to my operatory grinning all the way, as though I were the most important person in the world.

I have had so many favorite patients/residents among the cognitively/developmentally disabled that I can no longer count them. Even those who were not 'angels'....


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