$100?! What the f***!?

A couple of nights ago I was graced with the opportunity to go to the emergency room for a very stupid injury. Everyone was incredibly kind and helpful, and I was patched up in no time. I was ready to leave, had my insurance out and everything, expecting the cost to be about $50. Yet when I reached the discharge window the woman said, “Ok sweetheart that will be $100.” I was like, $100?! What the f***!? This experience opened my eyes to just how grave the medical inequality situation is. If I, a middle class college student found that amount to be outrageous, what must it be like for those who struggle each day just to stay alive?

Here at home we are able to enjoy warm clothes, a good education and some fun every now and then. Yet due to the unequal access to resources in underdeveloped and third world nations, people are struggling to find food and proper healthcare. This lack of access to resources is a form of structural violence in which those with resources have continued access to them, while those without remain without. This social inequality is defined by the unhealthy situations that some people live in, and their economic inability to get help. While that $100 was a dip in the bank account for me, it would be a lifetime’s savings for those who are without.

Concussion’s Memory Problem

Concussions are no light topic. Having suffered more than one myself, I can honestly say that they can be scary, especially when memory is involved. It has been long known that contact sports can cause serious head injuries. In fact, the American public has been aware of this fact since the late 19th century, as in, the 1800’s. Yet despite this awareness the so-called “concussion crisis” is not as big of an issue as it should be. In the week before the Super Bowl, Emily Harrison recently wrote an article in light of the publicity around the incident of ball-deflating where she states that while the news was blowing up over whether or not one competing team purposely deflated balls, there was an even bigger issue that was going virtually unnoticed. People who were appalled at the frenzy of attention to so trivial a matter advocated that the big hullabaloo was in all actuality a means of distracting from the major issues involving the NFL; namely, concussions and law suits regarding head injuries.

The crisis of concussions and the effects of such injuries has been pushed under the rug repeatedly over the years by the politicking of the NFL. In fact, this has been a recurring problem over the last hundred or so years because of the covering up by football’s supporters. There are current studies of head injuries in football, but similar studies were going on during the Progressive Era when football boomed as a sport. In the process of trying to legitimize football as an American sport, the problem of injuries has been forgotten over and over again.

Nowadays there are advocacy groups that are striving to prioritize public awareness and make it an issue rather than a hushed-up topic. This form of organization did not exist in the past. Thankfully as a result, the issue of concussions is no longer just a concern for collegiate-level sports; it is now a “public health problem whose impact has spread across the population and raised particular alarm for its effects on children.” These advocacy groups and everyday citizens are working hard to keep clear eyes on the honest goal of risk reduction. Many people who look past the sport itself, the industry, and its popularity will continue to advocate for safety instead of submitting to the media stream that keeps the sport alive.


Kissing Kills?

Okay, maybe I exaggerated a bit in the title, but kissing is more dangerous than most think. Greetings and showing affection can often be misinterpreted. This is in large part because culturally greetings and affection are shown in different ways throughout the world. A kiss on the cheek for example can be interpreted in various ways depending the cultural context you grew up in. I came across an article titled “This brings me to another thing: the danger of kissing on the mouth” by an assistant professor of anthropology Matt Thompson, which inspired me to continue with this topic.

This idea ties into the dangers of kissing. In the United States we have people from all different cultural backgrounds. This means that there are many existing forms of greetings and ways to show affection. When meeting new people you have to be careful of this new person’s ways to greet someone. Often Europeans and Hispanics will give a kiss on the cheek to greet. This can become problematic in the sense that diseases and sickness can easily be spread this way. This is especially problematic when having an infant, people often will want to kiss your baby.

I believe that if there were a universal code or certain way of greeting that this could be very beneficial to stop spreading sickness and disease. If everyone made meaning of a greeting in the same way that is healthy this would cut out any confusion and would be very beneficial to our overall health as a society.

Source: http://savageminds.org/2014/10/30/this-brings-me-to-another-thing-the-danger-of-kissing-on-the-mouth/#more-15401

Familiar Medicine

Imagine getting sick in a totally unfamiliar place. For most of us, this would not be too much of an issue. All one would need to do in order to get better again is pay a visit to the local doctor, find out what’s wrong, and receive some kind of a prescription medicine. While it might be an inconvenience or only a little stressful for most people living in the United States to seek out healthcare in an unfamiliar setting, it is a completely different story all together for illegal immigrants. To them, seeking out healthcare when they are not legally supposed to be in the country can be risky, and sometimes even completely avoided unless it is absolutely necessary to get outside help. Anthropologist Naomi Wolcott-MacCausland delves deeper into this issue in her article “Health Care by Mail among Latino/a Dairy Workers in a Northern Border State” by exploring how illegal immigrants working on dairy farms in Vermont sought healthcare by reaching back out toward the familiar.

During her time in Vermont, Wolcott-MacCausland observed migrants on dairy farms in Vermont, just along the Canadian border, and how they handled being sick so far from home. She realized they went about seeking medicine for their ailments in a way very different from migrants in other parts of the country: the Latino/a workers on the warm often self-diagnosed, and then asked for medications they would have used back home, in the countries they had come from. They would ask a family member back home for the medicine, and then wait for it to arrive by mail.

Receiving medication from home was, for most of the migrants on the farm, the only way they knew of to receive any kind of healthcare. The workers often spoke little English, had no means of transportation or health insurance, knew very little about their options in terms of healthcare in the United States, and were altogether afraid of what the consequences of seeking out professional medical help could be. All of this reveals an inequality that implies that only legal citizens of the United States may seek the healthcare they need freely, and without needing to fear anything but perhaps their diagnoses. Self-diagnoses and self-medication can be dangerous, but the migrants living in Vermont were more willing to put themselves in physical danger than risk facing problems for seeking out proper medical attention. This problem along the northern border states can, and should be fixed, as nobody should be afraid to reach out for help when their lives could potentially be in danger.

Wolcott-MacCausland, Naomi. “Health Care by Mail among Latino/a Dairy Workers in a Northern Border State.” Anthropology News. Web.

Peeing in Public

A recent issue that has arose in India is public urination. The issue has become more significantly talked about due to a video called “The Pissing Tanker” that went viral on youtube. The video shows a group of men peeing in various public locations around India. Since the video received such a huge reaction this must have hit a nerve for many people.

When reading on this issue several questions came to mind. How did going to the bathroom in general become a private function and why? Is going to the bathroom in India as much as a private process as it is in America? Would this have gotten a different reaction if it were women in the video instead? Answering these questions could be significant in coming up with a solution to this public urination issue.

The article “When the city is your urinal” by a medical anthropologist; Jen Barr, is where I first learned about the issue. In the article Barr states that “When a man exposes himself and pisses while a woman walks by, it creates the same discomfort and power dynamics as if a woman has just walked into the men’s restroom.” Barr also goes on to say that men are asserting their dominance over public spaces that should be for everyone, not just them.

This is happening in a time where gender relations are a major issue in India. I do believe that this issue is very much related to gender. To solve this issue I feel that anthropologist should look into why peeing in public makes a man feel dominant and how that all came about.