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Thursday 16 January 2014

To C or not to C? To see or to not see? Those are the questions.

(The following is written without any disrespect to the growing number of wonderful researchers and medical and healthcare professionals who, for whatever reasons, are somewhere along the path of understanding and working towards solutions. You know who you are. Thank you. The rest of you, please take a step onto the path and let them know you're there.)

A researcher in the field of ethnography contacted me today. She's conducting interviews to get "the whole picture about what remains a scientific controversy in the biomedical community" regarding people who suffer due to electrosensitivity.

Opinions abound in research and clinical realms regarding oodles of biomedical topics. In the 21st century, disagreement among those experts is not unusual, and it occurs regardless if the topic and/or the disagreement is everyday, small-scale, or large-scale. 

Sure, there might be some mud-slinging among peers, but it's basically understood to be an ongoing discussion with various inputs (old, new, and future). And certainly in personal situations with a patient or impaired person, those experts would not be rude, derisive, discriminatory, nor explicitly refuse to stop harming the individual. After all: this is the 21st century.

And sure, hefty stakeholding corporations might pipe up loudly, but we know that for them there is no controversy whatsoever. In the 21st century there's supposed to be this thing called "CSR, corporate social responsibility," but I'm pretty sure my brain has realized that's just another c-word.

In my opinion, the word "controversy" is very incorrect (about most biomedical topics). It implies there are camps of "This but never That" and "That but never This," and it implies that there ought to be heated argument to result in a path going forward that is "Solely This" or "Solely That."

Not a heck of a lot of what goes on moment to moment or over time in such a complex system as a living human body is going to be predictable, detectable, reported, and with the same result -- even with each individual person the result isn't always the same and, in fact, the result can be completely different or even opposite than his/her previous result as there are so many variables to approach replication.

I also feel that labelling something a "controversy" implies that most people think there is no new knowledge necessary or welcome and that information about both "Solely This" and "Solely That" has already abundantly flowed to everyone -- and that the only acceptable activity is experts duking it out and the public pondering which "Sole" to "believe," and maybe choosing one or not or changing their choice from time to time.

In the case of electrosensitivity, the information flow beyond experts to other experts, to authorities, and to the public has been dammed. It's there in an almost untapped huge and ever-filling reservoir. If sufferers want to not suffer and not die, and if sufferers want other people to not suffer and die, sufferers are supposed to day in and day out climb up to the reservoir, scoop into it with whatever size of cup they can carry, and climb down without spilling the cup and run with it to a person who hopefully has enough thirst for knowledge, stand there being openly laughed at while the contents of the cup AND the cup are thrown into his/her face, and then the next day run back to the reservoir, repeat, and repeat until exhaustion.

Is it a "controversy" that for the same patient one heart surgeon might recommend a certain medication or a certain surgery yet another heart surgeon might recommend a different medication or surgery? Is it a "controversy" that not everyone has dropped dead after eating peanut butter? Maybe some people who would drop dead after eating it have never eaten peanut butter, yet. Is it a "controversy" if the predicted number of people newly detected during 2014 to be suffering due to lung cancer from secondhand cigarette smoke turns out to be an actual number lower? higher? are there reasons they could have been detected during 2013 and were not? will we decide to want to INCREASE everyone's exposure to secondhand smoke if the actual number is lower than predicted? (And keeping in mind that not even everyone whose body absorbs firsthand cigarette smoke is made ill from the absorbing.)

To my mind, the biggest "controversy" regarding electrosensitivity is that out of one side of their mouths medical experts mostly agree that human bodies can and do biologically react internally in quite dramatic and measurable changes and even some visible changes when artificial electromagnetic radiation is added when the source is a machine tool in the hand of a physician or other healthcare professional, however, so far, out of the other side of their mouths medical experts mostly agree that human bodies canNOT and do NOT biologically react internally in quite dramatic and measurable changes and even some visible changes when artificial electromagnetic radiation is added when the source is a machine tool that is NOT in the hand of a physician or other healthcare professional. Hmm, having written in exact parallel words like that, I can now see that "controversy" isn't the correct word for that; simply, it is nonsense that any intelligent person would say or think these opposite statements as if they can both be truths.

And in the 21st century, it's very controversial that many medical experts who don't agree with these rules of having a two-sided mouth are made to feel afraid to say so to peers or to anyone else, afraid to research it, afraid to openly ask questions about the topic, afraid to lose jobs, funding, etc. -- even if these medical experts themselves adversely suffer due to electrosensitivity!

And in the 21st century, it's very controversial that authorities and the general public will go out of their way to be kind and assistive to a sufferer (including if the sufferer is a stranger) who is impaired to any degree by anything in a shared environment -- and without asking for proof, and even in the absence of any known sufferer, and certainly without ridicule, and despite the fact that sufferers are often a relatively small number or percentage of people. In addition to informal or in-the-moment accommodations, we have laws about smoking, school regulations prohibiting peanut butter, fragrance-free instructions, and so on. Yet, the majority of authorities and the majority of the general public will refuse to go out of their way to be kind or assistive (and even are cruelly unkind, unassistive, and some even outright choose to inflict more harm) when anyone who suffers due to electrosensitivity is present and sharing the environment.

I apologize that I can't come up with a decent closing sentence here. I'm too tempted to use other unpleasant words that don't begin with C.

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