The Struggle with Time in Chronic Illness
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Polish Academy of Sciences
Publication date: 2008-04-03
Polish Sociological Review 2008;161(1):25-38
It is worth looking at chronic illness with its pain, suffering and increasing limitations from the perspective of time. By time we mean subjective time relating to the perception and dynamics of the malady in the patient’s impressions and the role which time plays in the structuring of the patient’s life and experience. The main focus of this article is the experience of progressive kidney failure (uraemia), a condition which requires regular dialysis or kidney transplantation. Due to its specific crises, hopes and periods of waiting, painstaking medical procedures lasting many hours and turning points in the disease’s trajectory, time and its passage are a particularly adequate instrument with which to analyse the experiences of patients with uraemia. These experiences are discussed against the backdrop of selected elements of health care and attitudes towards transplantation which provide the social context for patients’ struggle with illness.
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