Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Can TB be liberating?

You may think this an odd question to ask but: can disease be liberating?

A radio discussion the other day on Albert Camus, the French intellectual giant and writer led one speaker to remark that for Camus, a bright working class lad who developed TB in his late teens it was in effect a “liberating experience” without that he would have stayed within the “petite bourgeoisie” culture of his day confined to the life of a schoolteacher.

Now that route was denied him he had to find alternative means of earning a livelihood. So he came to Paris and became writer and journalist.

I wonder if there are any around who regard their own experience in the same way?

In my own case having a relapse at 19 years of age did in fact become a “liberating experience” though I did not think so at the time. Until then I was heading for a teacher training college in Bristol .

Instead two hospitals later - Sully, near Penarth and Pinewood Rehabilitation Centre near Wokingham, both establishments of which I cannot speak highly enough- saw me back into the educational system with my expectations raised well beyond being a primary school teacher. So, in curious way, that relapse opened the window for me into a world I would never have experienced and a life in journalism that was far more exciting than a primary school teacher in rural Wales.

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