348508_44124480466@N01.jpg Sudanese baby Africa Oil Watch: This weblog is dedicated to Karen Southwick

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

This weblog is dedicated to Karen Southwick

Yesterday, I read the below post at Jim Moore's Journal. It links to an extraordinary essay by the late Karen Southwick. The essay, entitled "A Breath of Hope", brought me to tears because it so eloquently put what I find impossible to describe. I need to read the essay again to quote the parts I find so perceptive - not about the US health system - the part about being above and below water. Anyone who suffers chronic long term illness that keeps them bedbound can identify with Karen's thoughts and feelings. Parts of Karen's essay are timeless. A classic. The other parts I hope will not be timeless - what I mean to say is I hope the US healthcare part of the essay becomes dated, that things get fixed, so patients do not have to endure dealing with so many complexities, and so much paperwork - when you become ill you almost have to become an expert on your illness and devote all of your energy to as much paperwork as is carried out in any part-time office job. It's gruelling and frustrating and actually feels cruel. I should imagine the bureacracy is the same in most European countries.

I only know Jim through his blog and had never heard of his friend before now. I am not able to articulate right now what the essay meant to me - but I felt compelled to copy Jim's post in my other blog at ME AND OPHELIA and link to the essay, to share with other readers.

Today, I found an overflow of drafts that I need to post to my blog on the Sudan, mainly to do with the failure of aid agencies to get basic food, water, shelter and medical help to those most in need in Sudan and Chad. And I got to thinking - of all of Karen Southwick's difficulties with health care in the USA ...my very different (but difficult) experiences here in the UK over the past four years ... and those of the refugees in Africa - and the difficulties faced by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) ...

So, I decided to start up a new blog for my posts on aid agencies - and call it "A Breath of Hope" dedicated to Karen Southwick. Talk about serendipity. I have just visited Jim's blog to capture the links for the post below, but the Harvard server was down. So I clicked into the pdf copy I have of Karen's essay - and for the first time noticed a link - I clicked into the link and found a new blog called The view of a person. At first glance I could see Jim's footprint all over it. Don't ask me how I knew. I just knew. On reading the text, I guess I must be right because who else sits in front of a Mac - west of Boston - writing such thoughtful posts? It had to be Jim. They broke the mould when they made him, so I know I'm not mistaken. Hi Jim: if you are reading this: you make me laugh the things you get up to. It looks like Technorati is still not working. The link to my blog has not showed. I'm not sure what to think about being described as "a human rights activist and health advocate with a personal voice" - I don't mind - as long as it doesn't peg me as a troublemaker :-)
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This weblog is dedicated to Karen Southwick, a dear friend of Jim Moore's. Here is a copy of Jim's post dated July 26, 2004, at Jim Moore's Journal:

Karen Southwick passes away

I just found out that my close friend Karen Southwick passsed away in California this morning.  Karen was a writer on high technology and biotechnology, author of many books and magazine articles.  She was also an editor deeply loved by those who worked with her.  She was my editor for many years when I wrote a regular column for the old "Upside," the precursor of silicon valley business mags.  She was the editor who encouraged me to go wild with metaphors--as long as I could back them up with telling detail.  She was a writer's editor.

In her last months she hoped to blog on her cancer, and on health care reform from  the standpoint of the patient.

Here is her last essay, which she wrote not long before her death.

Thanks, Karen, for all you did, and for the love you gave to so many of us.

Posted by James Moore on 7/26/04; 11:10:37 AM from the Economics and cybenetics dept.


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