Talking About How We Talk About Asthma
Talking about talking feels a lot like writing about writing.
Both remind me of college. I was an English major and I never, not once, did I aspire to a master’s degree in my subject. Another area of concentration, sure, but never English. Because that degree? Involves a whole lot of writing about other people’s writing about literature. In other words, literary criticism. While plenty of my friends enjoyed this sort of thing and carved out academic careers for themselves that pay them to do it, writing about writing is just not my sort of thing.
I do recognize the value of talking and writing about how we use words, but I generally leave the actual practice to other folks.
If you missed it, last week’s Friday Links jumpstarted an interesting discussion about food allergies and how we use the words “asthma” and “allergy.” Points were made, knowledge shared, and education obtained. (By me, naturally. I know next to nothing about food allergies, in case you couldn’t tell.)
While doing a little behind-the-scenes blog cleanup yesterday, I reread that whole thread and thought about how, whenever I see one-sided articles about inaccurate medical information on the Internet or stories that imply the big medical sites written by health professionals are the only reputable ones, I always think, You’re just not getting it.
The patient/parent blogs and communities offer, as Sara mentioned and we’ve discussed here, valuable friendship and support. They’re useful for brainstorming, too, because sometimes you just need to bounce ideas off other people who know what the word “bronchospasm” means. (Very few friends in my in-person life do.)
But a key benefit of independent parent/patient blogs is that we don’t just talk about how to live with asthma or, in my case, how to raise a kid who’s living with asthma.
We also talk about HOW we talk about asthma.
And allergies. And chronic illness in general. And it’s something independent sites and blogs do better than the big ones.
That’s really important because changing the way we talk about something can change behavior, and changing behavior can change lives.