WWNRD? Or, What Would Nurse Ratched Do? Ft. Nurse Ratched

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Nurse Ratched was a sadistic, evil bitch at the time and would be that and a dangerously out of touch political dinosaur now.  Please do not do what she would do.  If anything, ask yourself WWNRD and then do the opposite.

Speaking with my mother recently made me sympathize with young smartasses and activists who are just waiting for the elder generation — the out of touch Baby Boomers and the Baby Boomers’ parents and kids by this point — to give up the ghost and die.  A “dinosaur” or political dinosaur is someone whose philosophy and worldview are obsolete and rooted in problematic values and circumstances of the distant past.  For example, as a young activist in my teens and 20s I remember thinking and saying that the world would be a better place once those who grew up with unregulated environmental pollution and legal institutionalized racism, sexism etc. died off because their environmental unconcern, racism and sexism were so entrenched that they either didn’t realize, agree or care that what they were doing and being was wrong.

Welp.  After being sick my entire fucking life with an undiagnosed autoimmune disease, and going on 8 years with a diagnosed one, I am having these same thoughts now about the older generation of Western medical practitioners and others who were born, grew up and/or progenated in a low-population, relatively unpolluted pre-nuclear world where lifelong serious, untreatable, incurable and progressive disease existed only in very small numbers and therefore where older people seem to believe and act as if chronic illness did not and does not exist at all.

To be clear, chronic illness obviously did exist in our recent and distant past, for example, natural uranium deposits are known to cause acute and chronic radiation sickness to those who spend time around it.  And humans have likely always been struck down with genetic and congenital maladies that might not have outright killed them.  But old/er people seem to have lived their entire lives without chronic illness, including autoimmune and immune-mediated disease, front and center in their consciousness or as a part of their lived experience and this does make sense: before, say, the 1940s and 50s the worst industrial (man-made ionizing nuclear) pollutants had yet to be widely dispersed and contemporary Western medicine did not, because it could not, routinely pluck seriously ill and/or nonviable neonates, infants and others from the brink of merciful, natural deaths.  Today, seriously ill children and others are rather forced to live for years, decades and lifetimes with serious illnesses that do not outright kill them, because Western medicine will not allow it, but which Western medicine has yet to figure out how to treat, relieve, or cure.

Having researched chronic illness, primarily autoimmune and immune-mediated disease for going on 8 years now, it seems to me that, in stark contrast to the life experience and worldview of older people, young people today generally are very aware that incurable and progressive chronic illness exists.  Over and over I see that young people today, at least young Western people, well understand and accept the reality of chronic illness much more freely than older people, and the implications of that are extremely dark.  From what I can discern, this difference in worldview likely exists because young people are increasingly becoming seriously chronically ill themselves.  Young people understand and accept the material reality of chronic illness because experiencing it personally as individuals and in their peer group they have no choice but to accept it.

And over and over I see that older people are generally ignorant about issues of chronic illness and that they have not experienced it either individually or in their peer group.  Frighteningly, instead of recognizing their blessed ignorance and trying to remedy it, older people think that their personal opinion based on outdated and second- and third-hand pseudo-knowledge about chronic illness matters or affects the outcome.  It doesn’t, but unfortunately many medical professionals, healthcare policymakers, paid and unpaid caretakers and the like embrace an outdated worldview that no longer applies in our post-nuclear, Western world, and thus do not or cannot fully believe the self-reports of, or even contemporary peer-reviewed medical research addressing, the experiences and needs of seriously chronically ill.

A few weeks ago, a day and a half into a migraine (I’m getting 4 day migraines now, yay!) I panicked over my migraine-related inability to work on my small business, pursue benefits, or do virtually anything as I was completely and totally incapacitated.  In what I can only describe as a misguided and ultimately futile cry for help, bedridden, I called my mother to update her about the situation, whereupon she made some statements of position that were so ignorant they verily shocked me.  Laying in the dark with a sleep mask over my eyes, and a puke bucket near my bed, what I heard uttered from my mother’s lips was so egregiously out of touch with accepted thinking that it frankly terrified me.

Attempting to explain to her how and why she was wrong exhausted me.  Knowing that she was moved not an inch by my description of my plight — instead smugly maintaining her “position” throughout as if she were engaging in a political debate rather than considering an emergency communique — enraged me.

For example, when I told my mom that I had a new diagnosis of High Functioning Autism, or HFA, she seemed unsurprised but said I wasn’t autistic as a child because I was always “bright.”  Okay.  🦕 In her mind, my HFA-consistent and completely obvious lifelong deficits in executive function — think literal and figurative “housekeeping” — and social competency (including feminine roleplaying which also includes both literal and figurative housekeeping, fuck me sideways) had nothing to do with autism and instead were just me being a lifelong asshole, lazy, and a bitch.  She always believed that about me and she never hesitated to tell me about it.  But at least I was bright.  But now, because I’m no longer a practicing attorney and a “success” and instead am struggling to maintain any quality of life as a seriously ill person with limitations, and I can’t maintain an illusion of physical health anymore if I ever could, I’m a lifelong lazy asshole bitch and a freshly minted unbright/retard on top of it.  Also, there is apparently such a thing as adult-onset autism.  Because she says so.  🦕 🦕 🦕

Of course, my mother’s opinion about HFA is irrelevant and obsolete where HFA-literate people today know that high-functioning autism — the bright, non-retarded kind —  is a bona fide thing, that particularly HFA females are often not diagnosed until late/r in life, and that “brightness” or intelligence is often a symptom/feature of HFA and not the antithesis of it.  🦕  🦕  🦖 🦖 Autistic Tumblr — or any young autism or chronic illness related social media site — would tear that political dinosaur a new egg-hole if she dared say something so ignorant patently false about autistics on that platform.  And so they probably should if they wanted to expend the energy and if they thought it would help.

Yes, I recently discovered the dark corner of the internet known as Autistic Tumblr: young people creating content, commentary and community from the shared perspective and lived experience that autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) including HFA is real and has real, material effects on people’s lives.  Often, those effects have nothing to do with being low-functioning, or unbright.  Which is not to say that I find Autistic or Chronic Illness Tumblr a particularly sane or comforting place to be.  As I recently learned myself, Autistic Tumblr is an upsetting, dystopian place where young autistics put great effort into and emphasis on “normalizing” and “validating” terrible things that rightfully should never exist at all: autistic and chronic illness related things like melting down, stimming and managing chronic fatigue, chronic pain, chronic gut issues and the like, because although most of them are much younger than me, due to their autism and (likely) related physical and mental issues they are extremely ill and can barely get through their day. 

In fact, upon hearing and considering these self-reports, one might even speculate that physical and mental pain is what likely drives autistics’ trademark weird, antisocial and self-absorbed behavior, where they are in fact “bright” enough to communicate online at the very least (and often have work, school and social commitments) but are exhausted from insomnia, chronic pain and ME/CFS; anorexic because they can’t eat anything; are having infantile hand-flapping meltdowns in public or breaking into inopportune episodes of “stimming” behavior to soothe themselves and they can’t deal with people giving them the side-eye at school and work on top of itAutistic young people are living in hell, utter hell, judging from their self-reports.  Considering that vast and increasing numbers of young people are autistic, it seems likely that extreme physical and mental distress is normal for many young people now.  Young people much more than old people seem to know this.  People who care to put in a modicum of research know this.

To further illustrate, when I was attempting to describe my current limitations to my mother she completely dismissed me and said that when it comes to disability, one is either totally disabled or not disabled at all.  Lest I misunderstand what she meant by that, she spontaneously clarified her statement to mean that if I have limitations I should be in a “home” and if I don’t need to be in a “home” then there is no reason I can’t act as if I’m not disabled at all.  In other words, despite being demonstrably, seriously ill, I “should” be able to act/function as if I’m perfectly fine.  Because she says so.  🦖

Of course, as I understand it, invalid “homes” are largely a thing of the past, at least in this country, having literally gone the way of the dinosaur.  And many sick and injured people are, in fact, demonstrably partially disabled, where they are able to perform some activities of daily living and perhaps some higher level activities like bookkeeping and such but not all; accessing “services” to help partially and even very disabled people to live as independently as possible — and not institutionalized — is the way it works now.  Partially disabled does not equal totally disabled, you sadistic Nurse Ratched, you decrepit fossil, nor does partially disabled mean not disabled at all.  She then proceeded to disagree with me — and contemporary peer reviewed medical research corroborating thousands of years of human history and shared experience — that cannabis is an effective anti-inflammatory and is particularly useful in inflammatory bowel disease including Crohn’s.  According to her, and based on nothing, pot isn’t an effective or necessary medicine for any condition, and it’s “merely” an effective pain reliever (!) and therefore is not actually medicine at all.  Because she said so. 🦖 🦖 🦖

This ignorant, sadistic ideological fossil maintains her nursing license and continues to “care for” actual patients including sick infants and children.  🦕 🦖  Whatever “caring” means to her, and people like her: assholes who rely on frighteningly outdated material on which to form and support their opinions on contemporary medical and social issues, including contemporary chronic illness that for whatever reason is increasing in incidence and prevalence.  And particularly in our post-nuclear, radioactively contaminated environment, including the toxic, autoimmune uterine environment in which many of us spend our first 3/4 of a year and which is known to cause autism.  While information on Crohn’s, HFA, medical marijuana etc. is easily Googleable, and appears to be widely known by young people, apparently my 67 year old nurse mother is waiting for the news to break via Teletype or otherwise didn’t get the memo. 

taxescartoon
An example of a dialed-in Tumblr post.  This is the Eraserhead baby y’all.  Young people relate to this character — a congenitally deformed infant from a vintage body-horror film — for some reason.  Here, it seems to be used as a representation of disabling physical illness.  This comic/context illustrates the social and financial fallout of same and is spot on IMO.

Of course, if I was a partially disabled man and had a wife (or mother) to perform all my executive function tasks (including bookkeeping services for my small business) for me, no one would even notice I was disabled.  If I were male instead of female perhaps my life wouldn’t be falling apart at all, and certainly the prospect of committing me to a nonexistent/extinct 1940s era invalid home because I can’t wait in line or consistently do my business and personal taxes anymore would have never been raised at all.

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21 thoughts on “WWNRD? Or, What Would Nurse Ratched Do? Ft. Nurse Ratched

  1. I also have tried to explain to my mom that practically everyone my age is sick now from all the pollution and it’s like there’s so much cognitive dissonance going on with everything. She knows everything is all poisoned and has serious effects and talks about how all these chemicals are bad, but then she also says when someone is sick that is because of something they did. Like they were eating bad or abusing something. Like they were eating way worse and doing worse drinking and drugs when she was young and they weren’t as sick. She has a hard time understanding young people being sick and it’s like only something that happens to old people in her mind. Our moms are probably from the same generation because my parents had me later than most people did back then and she’s 65 now.

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  2. Oh and also I meant to say that she said how when she was growing up no one was sick, she didn’t even see people with acne. Which I thought was odd but you wrote before how the acne medication was treating something to do with the immune system so it seems even skin blemishes are a fairly new thing that have to do with everyone’s fried immune systems.

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  3. Hi, yes acne appears to be autoimmune as well, where the immune system wrongly attacks “normal” bacteria that exists on everyone’s skin all the time. The most severe form is indeed treated with the immunity-decimating chemotherapy medication Accutane. Accutane is a failed cancer chemo drug. I didn’t know that until decades after I took it. I wrote about that here:

    https://cannabisrefugeeesq.wordpress.com/2018/09/07/what-is-acne-the-acne-crohns-and-acne-autoimmune-connection/

    I bought into the idea/belief that if I was sick/symptomatic that meant I was doing something wrong. And since I was having AI symptoms since high school (well, all my life really) I played that consumerist game for decades trying to undo whatever damage I believed I had (somehow) done. At the very least, I knew that if anyone was going to heal me it was going to have to be me, bc no one else cared, and nothing I was ever told/shown to do ever actually worked. Sick people are the ones who can least afford to, but we are spending all our discretionary time and income on mainstream and alternative treatments to make us feel better, to feel normal but we aren’t normal, we are incurably and progressively ill. It’s maddening. I am sorry to hear that you have shared this experience, but sadly not surprised. Thanks for reading.

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  4. Oh I just looked back and you saw your mom was 67. Lol yeah they are only 2 years apart, from the same crazy time. The funny part is my mom is not any kind of authoritarian personality at all where she thinks they have all the answers and she will say how all the stuff is poison and that they almost killed her because they gave her too much of this diabetes medicine. Yet she thinks I should be doing better to figure out how to get myself well even though she knows full well that they are morons with poisons. It’s bizarre honestly. I feel less able to understand people all the time. Seriously thinking about just going out and boondocking in an RV like Michelle to get the hell away from so much craziness.

    The other day I heard my mom on the phone, because she talks so loud and I can’t help but hear, talking to someone about a research study about fatty liver. Apparently they told her she has it years ago and so she listened to what the lady had to say about the study and then she told the lady no she didn’t want to take drugs because they would just make her sick. And the lady was also saying all this stuff about how fatty liver is progressive and will eventually kill you. When I started getting really bad digestive issues I went and had a few tests and they told me I have a fatty liver too. That is pretty strange though because it is typically from being very overweight or from alcoholism and neither remotely applies to me. So yeah, all that is very confusing.

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  5. Patriarchy creates horrible mothers.

    My mother hated me, she hated all of her daughters. I get it, she was born in the late 1940s, her only life path was to pair with a male and then have the kids that he was entitled to have. She married a male that was less than her in every way and forced to have kids that she didn’t want for an idiot that had a lot of options because he had a penis.

    I think that our mothers treat us like they hate us because they actually do hate us. Forcing us to have kids that we don’t want makes us resentful and I think that it kills some of our empathy. I am not making excuses for anyone’s mother, it’s just an observation, something that I think about on occasion.

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  6. I was completely and totally wanted by my Mom and my Dad didn’t have any power over her at all. She was the one in control. She doesn’t hate me. She still acts like she hates me a lot of the time though. Everything I do is wrong to her. All this just makes women go crazy no matter what.

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  7. I’ve made excuses for women’s and mothers’ shitty behavior my entire life because of feminism. The excuse was, women don’t have “real” choices because they are coerced. It’s true, women are coerced into doing things like pairing with men, having kids they never wanted, parenting even wanted children with so little resources and power it makes women crazy from anxiety and grief. But even coerced choices are choices and women make the choice to be evil, cowards, narcissists, abusers and whatnot many times a day every day of their lives. Women notably do not choose to be strong, brave, or to take principled stands because the cost to themselves and their own comfort is too high. It’s still a choice though, and we could choose to do better but we almost never do. What must this do to us? Evil is as evil does. I’m not making excuses for women anymore, fuck them honestly. It’s not ok to be selfish, cowardly and/or abusers and I don’t care the reason. And I’m not talking about “selfish” women who take an hour every 6 months to themselves so they don’t completely crack, I’m talking more on the order of bringing unwanted lives into the world in order to keep a roof over your head kind of selfish, or breaking girls through forced female socialization so no one accuses you of being a bad mom with an unruly girl. Women make that choice all the time and I’m done making excuses for that.

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  8. I agree with you. I get accused of victim blaming, but I am not blaming the victim. What men force women to do is not our fault, but our reaction to it is our responsibility.

    I read a while back about the witch trials in Germany and how some villages only stopped burning women because they had all been burned, and men were so inconvenienced by having to go out of their village to procure a piece of female property, as if the tragedy was the men having to travel to replace the women that they had murdered. And I wonder why the women didn’t just burn all of the shit down. Why didn’t they fight?

    Men have always owned us, first as whole people, and now, they own us in bits and pieces. When I go out in public and I see men, I am astounded that those dudes have a legal control and say in MY body. As a class, men are scarily ignorant and pretty much just repulsive. I share a world with them, but I will not give them what they want while they try to force me to do it. Before I ever read anything about feminism, I knew that I was not going to have kids just so a male could control me through them while adding nothing of value to their existence.

    The vast majority of women are the right wing women that Andrea dworkin wrote about, even when they claim feminism. Claiming that prostitution is “sex work”, that penis can be female, that serving dick is empowering, it’s the new right wing woman stance. It’s all servitude to men in an effort to protect yourself from male wrath.

    I will die at some point, so I will be free of it. But I wonder about women that are leaving daughters behind when they die. Just the thought of that would drive me crazy.

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  9. It strikes me as so odd that women collectively have so far declined to burn this shit to the ground. I do not understand this at all. I’m starting to think that people’s default state is to be authoritarians and that they get a chemical rush from doing what they are told. Maybe that’s all that’s meant by this “humans are social creatures” trope, esp bc males are so clearly antisocial. If there is a chemical/addiction level to what is happening it would make a lot of sense of things that don’t otherwise make a lot of sense.

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  10. I think so Mary. Thanks for chiming in. I’ll just be over here with my tiny stash of overpriced, heavily regulated marijuana wondering what the fuck everyone else must be smoking, drinking, popping, injecting or producing in their brains that makes all of this ok.

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  11. Trick or treating is so weird now. They’re all like little zombies. The parents have to herd them all around and tell them all to say trick or treat and thank you over and over. They have no personality anymore. So many disabilities among the young that no one can function right. I saw the most mentally disabled kid that I’ve ever interacted with who could only repeat after what someone said. It kind of scared me. When you interact with someone who is mentally younger than their age it’s a whole different thing, you still see them processing things and interacting with you. I told her I liked her costume and her mother was trying to get her to say what it was but all she could do was repeat parts of what she heard. That poor woman was trying so hard to make the best of things to take care of her daughter.

    There weren’t older kids or teenagers out either, it was only really young kids and then a few older kids with mental disabilities. The older kids and teenagers used to get all dressed up too and laugh and have fun. It was all so dead yesterday. Not many people around here even gave out candy or did any decorating either. It’s depressing now. Just from when I was a kid it was so lively, there were so many people with decorations out and going all out even some of them dressing up. Then there were tons of kids and teenagers of all ages going around laughing and having fun. Even when I was a really young adult and I started giving out candy it was like that and you would have groups of teenagers with silly costumes joking about everything and little kids all excited about what they dressed up as. It’s like it’s representative of this whole decline of society what I saw yesterday.

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  12. Ugh I’d kill for a nice stash of marijuana right about now. My state is still behind the times and just did medical fairly recently. I’m probably fucked up enough to qualify but it would cost so much to get doctor’s approval and I don’t think we even have all these things like patches and balms and whatnot yet. Wish I could just go to the store and get high and relieve some pain. I’ve been drinking alcohol and I don’t even like alcohol.

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  13. Re: Hallowe’en.: thank you for that. 😥 … I remember glorious Hallowe’ens in the 1950’s, wild and wonderful. We wanted all of our days to be like that. Truly celebratory! I enjoyed Hallowe’en far more than Xmas or birthdays.

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  14. Mary, when I was a kid it was still like that. Halloween was always my favorite. It was so exciting to get all dressed up in costume and go out into the busy neighborhood where everyone was out in this magical celebration together. Almost everyone put out some kind of decorations too and some people went all out. We would make our own costumes with various things and it was all so creative. When I was a teenager we would still go trick or treating for a few years and we smoked weed in the park first and laughed so much and went around getting candy and joking about everything. I’ve seen it slowly dying since then. I’m only in my early thirties now and it’s a whole different world already and so much of the joy and liveliness has been sucked out of everything. It’s weird to see.

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  15. Mary I’ve been meaning to ask, how are you a separatist exactly? Do you just try to avoid them as much as possible or do you mean you really are in women only working and living situations? Lol I think I’m so done with all of them entirely. Too much trouble, for what?

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  16. It’s funny that you both mention Halloween bc I was just thinking about that the other day. I remember hundreds of kids, older kids and parents in costumes. It really was busy, energetic and magical! At some point that kind of trick or treating stopped in my neighborhood tho and everyone started trick or treating at the mall. I remember the weather just wasn’t nice anymore and people started getting worried about getting poison and razor blades in their kids’ candy. I have no idea what it’s like now so thanks for letting me know. That sounds horribly, horribly depressing.

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  17. I wasn’t sure if the whole razor blades in candy was actually happening or something that people just got afraid of it, not that I would doubt some sicko would do that but just never heard of it actually happening. Sure enough I looked it up, yep some dude was just arrested for it and somewhere else they found someone else putting razor blades who they are trying to figure it who it was. I remember one year a lady was giving out gloves filled with popcorn that had candy corn in the ends of the fingers like the nails. It was one of the coolest and most memorable things. Now the parents wouldn’t even let kids eat things like that, that someone made really cool for the kids. We would used to take our pillow cases or big bags and get them so full of candy that we would go home and empty then before we would go to the next neighborhood to get more because there were so many people giving out candy and it would be all kinds of things. I’m glad I was born early enough to get to see that.

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  18. Hi, AWIH!

    Yeah, the concept of celebratory magic has certainly dropped dead, just in my short 75 year lifetime. Like so many other senses of possibility. Do we have a sense of any desirable possibilities anymore?

    The only desired (im)possibility for me for the last 48 years has been to live on a female planet. To live in an unbreachable female energy field. Not as a member of any particular species, although a female dolphin would be nice, for instance. A female planet would not necessarily decide to sort herself into distinct species; she could just burble along in expressions of various states of female being.

    My lesbian separatism is about female joy, female pleasure, female ecstasy and the uninterrupted flow of female energy. Entrapped as I am in a human-geno body, I seek to avoid contact with males whenever I can. I love being in lesbian space, and feel myself most alive when I am there. My destination is the Lesbian Separatist point at infinity. Now developing my flight path and escape velocity. See ya there, eh? ❤

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  19. As a baby baby boomer, there is nothing more I would like than to grant your wish; however, my views are much more open minded than my elder brethren.

    I find it sad that young people are suffering from chronic illnesses. I did not become ill until after my stroke at 44. My daughter-in-law has been suffering fatigue and infections for the last couple of years. She will be 20 next month. My ex-husband has acid reflux and I, among many other things, have GERD, esophogitis, duodenitiis and IBS. Yesterday our son was diagnosed with GERD and is only 21. I have no idea if these gastro illnesses are hereditary but it appears that way in our family. The shocking thing is that my ex and I did not begin suffering these things until our 50’s and 60’s and our son, at 21, has been diagnosed with the same and his wife is suffering from god knows what. We should all be shocked and concerned by this, no matter how old we are.

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  20. Hi Michelle! The first GI symptom that sent me to a doctor was heartburn/acid reflux/GERD in the mid 1990s. I was in my 20s. That was just as they were rolling out GMOs to the general population. I honestly think people need to start eating organic if they can, this is the only food related change that works for me anymore. I did every diet and dietary modification imaginable for 25 years and it worked until it didn’t. Now I think it stopped working bc GMOs were becoming more and more insidious until they took over our entire food supply. GERD is no joke either, it causes esophageal spasms that are completely debilitating and can land you in the hospital if you don’t know what’s happening. It also makes it impossible to sleep so latent health problems all come out with a vengeance after you haven’t slept for a few months (or years). Yay! I’m sorry to hear that your family and children are suffering from this, but I’m not surprised. Our food supply now is just completely toxic. I wish it was easier to find info on GMOs but the whole point of them is so that food looks nice on the plate and never spoils. Wax food would do the same, but might have fewer pesticides (and similar nutritional value if our guts can’t absorb it properly and I don’t think they can). It’s really something.

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