Lectures

Running on Borrowed Life

This article is part of the series:

On a cold January afternoon in 2018, 18-year-old Sara locates me in the crowd at the train station. Together we take the bus to her home in a small village in rural Denmark. Sara tells me that she is excited to be training for her driver’s license. However, she is worried that her application for the license will be scrutinized …

Lectures

Chronic living against all odds in Honduras

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Yesenia was born with congenital heart disease in 2000, a time in Honduras when heart defects meant certain, if not sudden, death for most children. Owing to surgical advances dating back to the 1950s, most children in more resourced countries could by then be diagnosed and treated in a timely manner, significantly improving their chances of long-term survival. In Honduras, …

Lectures

Pains, pleasures, and a new electric wheelchair

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A Wednesday in May 2017, Vienna, Austria

The door opens. Behind it is Frau Schöbel, a tiny woman in her early seventies.[1] Through her glasses, her eyes are piercing. Her lipstick is impeccable and matched to the scarf tied around her neck. 

Frau Schöbel is one of the people I met on the dialysis unit at the City hospital …

Lectures

The ‘chronic’ lives of failing organs: afflictions of ambivalent care in Mexico

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Life has always been difficult, Maria del Rosario told me, but she coped. That was before all the sickness. When her mother’s kidneys began to fail, she felt traumatised, utterly overwhelmed. No matter what she or anyone else did to help, it was no good. Their lives simply fell apart.[i]

Maria, a single mother of two, lived in Balcones …

Lectures

Chronic Experimentation

This article is part of the series:

The introduction of effective combination antiretroviral therapy for HIV disease in 1996 was commonly narrated as a major event that transformed HIV from an inevitable death sentence into a ‘chronic manageable illness’ – at least for those populations in wealthier countries granted socially and economically affordable access to the new treatments, not to mention the relevant clinical infrastructures to monitor …

Lectures

Chronic caring in unstable landscapes

This article is part of the series:

The current ‘end of AIDS era,’ referred to as Treat All in policy circles,is characterized by the primary aim of identifying and putting all HIV-positive people on antiretroviral treatment (ART) as quickly as possible following diagnosis (Kenworthy, et al 2017). Under Treat All, life-long pharmaceutical treatment is increasingly initiated in healthy bodies as part of a broad …