Article – Vicki and Kevin Whiting (authors of In Pain We Trust) | Ben Fulton, The Salt Lake Tribune
Article about Vicki and Kevin Whiting (authors of In Pain We Trust) by Ben Fulton, The Salt Lake Tribune, on 12/16/2011.
Patients must not allow themselves to be put off when they hurt, and medical practitioners must learn to listen to their complaints.
Hobbled by doctors who seemed unable to diagnose the rare intestinal disorder that wracked her 14-year-old son’s body with constant pain, Vicki Whiting never thought about documenting her experience in a book.
When her son Kevin finally recovered, Whiting knew she had to write it all down. She also knew she should include accounts from her son, who suffered years of pain so intense he ripped up phone books for distraction.
Published last month, the mother-son book, In Pain We Trust : A Conversation Between Mother and Son on the Journey from Sickness to Health, has since been adopted by Westminster College’s nursing school as part of its curriculum. Nursing programs at universities nationwide have also expressed interest in using the book to underline the need for “patient-centered care” in the nation’s health-care system . . . .
. . . Kevin, now 17, was cured by surgery that untangled an artery from his intestines that prevented him from absorbing nutrients. Writing the book with his mother, he said, was “the opposite of therapeutic.” Instead, it was written to help other families struggling through ailments that often elude doctors, leading patients to take the wheel from medical professionals until effective treatment is found.
Even so, the book reveals ways in which Kevin and his mother coped through years of misery and uncertainty, from the summer of 2007 when his symptoms surfaced, to fall 2009 when his agony began to subside. He gave his pain a name, “Burnie,” and even an identity as something more akin to a “horror show” as opposed to real life. “Imagining the pain as a person helped me bring myself away from it,” Kevin said . . . .
. . . For Vicki Whiting, the ordeal of watching her child suffer taught her the importance of drawing those terms. Also, the realization that, like the origin of illness, the forces that drive people are never fully known until investigated and described in words.
“Whatever we see in another person is just a small portion of what’s revealed,” Whiting said. “We all have our stories.”
- Ben Fulton, The Salt Lake Tribune