Tag Archives: doctors

Queer Crips on Air Episode 1: Medical Encounters

Queer Crips on Air Episode 1: Medical Encounters

Shannon Avery and Derek Newman-Stille take to the airways for their first show of Queer Crips on Air on Trent Radio 92.7 FM in Peterborough. We discuss the problematic medical care that is often received by disabled people and queer people (especially the Trans population), drawing on personal experiences and the experiences of others in our community. We raise critical questions about ideas and assumptions behind our care and critique the veil of medical objectivity. We delve into ways that our communities (Queer, Trans, Disabled) come together to share knowledge and experiences to help each other navigate the medical system and to bring each other supports. We discuss the need for critical changes and consultations with our communities by medical practitioners and the need for medical staff to get to know us.

Click on the poster below for our first episode. Make sure to allow time for buffering.

Click here to hear our show

Shannon Avery (They/Them) is anonbinary, Queer, Disabled (Crip) person. They are completing their undergraduate degree at Trent University, where they also work in campus tours and in the Champlain College Office. Shannon is completing their degree in English Literature. They are new to radio and are already fabulous and brilliant at it (this last bit is added by Derek because they are overwhelmed with what an amazing job Shannon is doing on their first show!!!).

Derek Newman-Stille (They/Them) is a Nonbinary (Enby), Queer, Disabled (Crip) person. They are completing their PhD exploring the representation of disability in speculative fiction literature. They teach at Trent University and have just published two anthologies – Over the Rainbow: Folk and Fairy Tales from the Margins (Exile) and We Shall Be Monsters (Renaissance Press).

We are incredibly thankful to Trent Radio for their support and their broadcast services. For people in the Peterborough, Ontario region, you can tune in to Trent Radio at 92.7 FM and for people outside of Peterborough, you can live stream the amazing and brilliant content on Trent Radio at trentradio.ca:8800/hi-fi.m3u . You can find out about Trent Radio at www.trentradio.ca

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Obsessively Complex

A review of “The Bad Doctor: The Troubled Life and Times of Dr. Iwan James” by Ian Williams (Graphic Medicine, 2015)
By Derek Newman-Stille

“The Bad Doctor” by Ian Williams is a tale of the entwined experience of a doctor and his patients. Unlike most medical narratives that tend to reinforce the hierarchical position of doctors as the arbiters of knowledge and patients (particularly those with disabilities) as receivers of knowledge, “The Bad Doctor” complicates narratives of disability and medical authority. Williams’ exploration situates Dr. Iwan James as someone who learns from his patients, changing with each medical encounter. He is a figure who combines narratives of disability with narratives of medical experience. 

Dr. Iwan James is portrayed as a doctor who has experienced Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) his entire life, generally fixating on ideas of the occult as a threat and prayer as a method of averting disasters. Interweaving with narratives of encounters with patients, including one patient with OCD who helps Dr. James re-assess his own compulsive thoughts, Ian Williams also portrays elements from Dr. James’ childhood. Drawn with beautiful trees coming from his head that hold bubbles about all of the things that the young Iwan wants to protect, these pages about his obsessive thoughts illustrate the complexity of OCD. Young Iwan spends most nights going through a series of blessings of each family member, having to repeat these blessings if anyone or anything is missed. Even stuffed animals need a specific number of pats each night to ensure that they are protected. Williams draws circles of light around each of the things that young Iwan wants to protect, linking them together in a complex pattern of thought, and yet these images are also surrounded by caution signs depicting possible outcomes if he misses anyone. As Iwan grows up, he begins to obsess over the occult, believing that his dog died because he listened to occult music. After his wife becomes pregnant, Iwan sees occult imagery everywhere around him and seeks to try to protect his children from their influence. 

Dr. Iwan James develops coping mechanisms for his OCD, able to develop methods to control these obsessive thoughts, but they don’t disappear from the narrative. This is not a narrative of disability where there is an easy solution through a “cure”. Rather, Dr. James’ continued work on himself allows him to be a better doctor, to engage with patients from a place of knowledge, but not of arrogance. Instead, he is able to share his narrative with patients to help them to better understand themselves and their own compulsions. Dr. James still has persistent thoughts and continues to have suicidal ideation from time to time and these suicidal thoughts enter into the comic page in imagined scenes of shooting himself in the head or guillotining off his own head. Ian Williams illustrates the way that these thoughts can interrupt everyday narratives by inserting them between panels, at random, evoking the power of suicidal thoughts to seep into the mind during every day encounters.

Told through powerful snippets of encounters with patients and intense flashbacks of obsessive compulsive thoughts, “The Bad Doctor” creates a complex view of medicine and the relationship between an individual and the medical system. 

To discover more about “The Bad Doctor”, visit Graphic Medicine’s page at http://www.graphicmedicine.org/