Analysis Of ' The Shadow Of Illness ' Essay

Analysis Of ' The Shadow Of Illness ' Essay

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In the Shadow of Illness, the book describes different experiences of families who have or had children with cystic fibrosis (CF). CF is an inherited disease that is passed on from the mother or father who is a carrier, but doesn’t have the condition. Doctors have figured that in this scenario, the parents are likely to have a child with CF. Individuals with CF have to take Cotazymes to help the pancreas digest food. If the person does not take these enzymes, the food goes straight through them as diarrhea. Also, the person’s lungs are affected by a thick mucus that must be removed or thinned before it clogs. Doctors recommend the patient to perform daily breathing exercises that prevent the mucus from thickening; for example, swimming is a good form of breathing exercise (Bluebond-langner, 1996, 27). The stress of taking care of a child with CF can be over whelming, but each family copes with the disease differently than other parents and siblings.
Upon diagnosis families go through different thinking processes. Every family experiences a disease differently from another, but all go through the same cycle. First, the families’ reality is threatened by constant stress and change in routine. This starts to occur during the first sign of illness that leads to diagnosis. Second, leads to the reactions displayed upon hearing the diagnosis. Some families show little emotion and strive to do what’s best for their child medically sharing the responsibility. Some families become angry questioning why this is happening to their child wishing harmful thoughts. Other families deny the diagnosis either by ignoring the illness when it is not visible or by ignoring the problem completely. Other families feel guilty especially if ...


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...es are encouraged to ask questions, sometimes concerns don’t rise until after some stressful experiences. Further, a child life specialist would be able to address certain concerns of the behavior toward Cody. The greatest concern that could be corrected is how each family member treats Cody differently during his hospitalization. The different treatment toward him gives Cody the impression that something seriously is wrong and this could lead to him becoming depressed and confused. Further the constant stress of him becoming sick conflicts with his ability to live a normal life. It is important to recognize the dangers of Cody having the common cold, but this should prevent him from attending normal, daily activities such as school. This conflicts with Cody’s self-esteem especially when peer interactions become very important to building a healthy self-esteem.

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