Learning and Long-Term Illness: Saturated Spaces
Between 1982 and 1993, Susan Sapsed kept a diary that is referred to throughout this book. She began this diary when she was 37 years of age, convinced that she was suffering from Ménière’s disease (a disorder of the inner ear). Nearly 40 years later, Susan discovered the diary by chance. It told a story of personal illness, practitioner misunderstanding, patient frustration and familial loss. It was clear to the authors of this book that it could be used as a starting point for a meditation on patient power and powerlessness, and as an analytic comparison between healthcare systems at play in the past and in the present.
Using psychoanalytic frameworks, this book invited a more mature Susan to reflect on her earlier self and on treatment that was not always worthy of the name. It explores ideas of agency and what purpose a diary really serves. Although the diary is not presented in its entirety, some passages have been left unedited. The book explores the earlier contributions, presenting a narrative that combines the old and the new.
Dr David Mathew has been an educator since 1994, and has shown his commitment to academic professional development and pedagogic innovation through his work in schools, colleges, universities, online, communities, the workplace and prisons. As an author since 1997, he has published nine works of fiction and three academic books on the subjects of education and caring for others, using psychoanalytic frameworks. His publications include Fragile Learning: The Influence of Anxiety, The Care Factory, and Psychic River: Storms and Safe Harbours in Lifelong Learning.
Susan Sapsed is a trained nurse and midwife who moved into teaching after having been a clinical tutor. Her teaching career spanned nursing, midwifery and allied professions within the NHS. In 1994, she joined what was then the University of Luton (now the University of Bedfordshire), within the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences as a Midwifery and Women’s Health Lecturer. She progressed to become the Programme Lead for the Master’s in Public Health. Since her retirement, as a member of the Royal Society of Medicine, she has maintained her interest in these areas of health.
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