Wednesday, 3 April 2013

What is a prognosis?

The prognosis is one of the hardest things to come to terms with when diagnosed with Parkinson’s: the seemingly inevitable physical disintegration rushing towards me from my future. We rely so much on our physical control that its loss feels like a loss of ourselves. The prognosis of Parkinson’s triggered mourning for myself, not necessarily for what I’ve lost but more for what I might have had. However, there is a problem with mourning this “might”; I try to hold onto something I never held in the first place.

“What I might have had” is grounded in what I expect of my future. Usually, I measure my expectations in comparison to other people but, as Heidegger pointed out, this causes me to become lost to the crowd (or the “They”). Other people are separate to me and as such have unique experiences and instances of thrownness, including their prognoses. Therefore, mourning expectations founded in comparison to other people essentially unlike me is empty. The only entity that I can intelligibly be compared to would be a person with the same experiences and thrownness as myself; I am that person! I must be compared to myself in my current possibilities; my past possibilities have already been used up and possibilities in my future have yet to be discovered.

My current possibilities have to surrender to the limits of my thrownness, which includes Parkinson’s. Therefore, mourning what I might have had ignores my thrownness completely. Further, applying to myself a prognosis based on other people tries to cover up the blindness I have of my future possibilities. I can only compare myself to my current possibilities and judge what possibilities I am currently choosing. 

Therefore, my prognosis is not part of my “now” since it is something unknown in the future.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Johnathan, you may or may not remember me; we met on the train on Thursday afternoon in Ely. And as promised, I have checked out your blog. I have to say your courage and willingness to talk about it not only on the internet (which can be a fairly scary place), but to me; a complete stranger on a train was the most touching thing in the world. You were an absolute pleasure to spend time with & I do hope you got back to York OK!

    I also just want to say that reading this blog and seeing the daily struggles with anxiety and fear surrounding Parkinson's, as well as the prejudice that you face because of said disease just makes me want to get out there and make sure that people do know what the likes of you, my grandfather and so many other people have to deal with. It's such an unknown disease and I'm sure that everyone connected with it, & you, is very proud of your efforts. I know I am.

    I hope you continue get stronger and live life as fully as possible. I will continue to check your blog & I hope you continue to post! It's people like you that make this world an entirely better place. I'm sure my Grandfather would have loved reading this blog too.

    Best wishes, Danielle.