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Home » The Hell of Chronic Illness: Sita Gaia (Transcript) 

The Hell of Chronic Illness: Sita Gaia (Transcript) 

Here is the full transcript of Sita Gaia’s talk titled “The Hell of Chronic Illness” at TEDxStanleyPark 2016 conference.

Listen to the audio version here:


The Prevalence of Chronic Illness

Did you know that one in three individuals suffers from at least one chronic health issue? If that’s not you, then it’s either the person in the seat to your left or your right. A chronic illness is an illness that persists for longer than three months, and there is no cure through vaccinations or medications. You know plenty of medical chronic illnesses: diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, fibromyalgia, epilepsy. It goes on and on and on.

Living with Epilepsy

I am an epileptic. Uncontrollable, intractable seizures. I might stiffen up and fall to the ground like that. Or I might daydream and stare really hard, and if you’re in my line of focus, you might think I’m giving you a good look. That’s not the case.

I might also do some weird, repetitive activities such as picking things up and putting them into a bag. It makes no sense, but that’s the seizure. I want you to sit here and take it in, feel it, and in the end, act in a useful and helpful way.

I have fallen multiple times on concrete and cement, which have resulted in concussions. I have also burned the entire top half of my torso with hot tea. This resulted in four months of bandage-changing and on morphine. Two years later, and my burn is still healing. Finally, I needed a root canal and a cap because I fell face-forward on brick.

The Risks and Challenges of Chronic Illness

I’m not the only one who’s in physical jeopardy. I was hanging out with my friend Jordan one time, and he’s a type 1 diabetic. Thanks to my mom, she recognized that his blood sugars were painfully low. We called a paramedic, and if we hadn’t, he was this close from slipping into a diabetic coma. I also have two friends who’ve been hit by cars in the last year. One of them has a visual impairment, and the other one uses a scooter because of an acquired brain injury.

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