Is ignorance bliss?

I find that going through a cancer diagnosis and treatment process is making me very ambivalent to “finding out”. I know I’m strongly arguing for access to ALL information about your health and healthcare – but it’s sometimes with mixed feeling. While waiting for news between all the diagnostic examinations I listened to a song by the Swedish singer/songwriter Sophie Zelmani, and for me it really captures the ambivalens of waiting for the diagnosis/news of tests and lab results and x-rays… the song is probably about some other bad truth, but for me – it’s now all “cancer truth”:

I don’t wanna find out the truth
I don’t wanna find out the truth
But only truth satisfy

I want it so much to go away
I want it so much to go away
But with the truth it will stay

And you will fall heavy upon my chest
But laughing will give the time to rest
I still can breathe when you are asleep
Just let me gasp for peace

I’d like to have other things on my mind
Like to have other things on my mind
I can’t choose a lie

I wanna wake up and find you
I wanna wake up and find you
If it’s true, I won’t continue to

You will fall heavy upon my chest
But laughing will give the time to rest
I still can breathe when you are asleep
Just let me gasp for little peace

I don’t know how to get armed
I don’t know how to get armed
Truth is hard to charm, so hard to charm

There are times when I just want to cover my eyes and ears and not take in any more information at all – it’s seems all we’re ever getting is bad news. But I guess it’s in my nature to still want to know – “only truth satisfies”, and having spent almost all my life in an educational and research environment, I’m constantly learning. It’s part of my coping strategy to find out as much as I possibly can. And perhaps, sometimes ignorance is bliss. When it comes to your health and healthcare though – ignorance can be very dangerous.

I think however, that this can also be part of the reason why healthcare professionals sometimes hesitate to provide all information to patients – they get to be the (constant) bearer of bad news when what they really want to do is save and cure and help. And when we are faced with terrible news – who is easier to accuse, be angry with, and blame than the bearer of those news? The person I’m chasing to get all the information, and then when I get it it’s really not what wanted to hear… is it surprising that some of those negative feelings gets associated with the information bearer? What are your experiences?

[post 30 in the #blogg100 challenge]

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