“Out Patients” by Elise Wu Response
Elise Wu’s “Out Patients” portrays her experience with Factitious Disorder (FD)before and after her “self-diagnosis”. Prior to her self-diagnosis, she battled with the compulsion of seeking medical attention without dealing with actual symptoms. This journey also pained her loved ones who was unsure of how to deal with Elise and her health scares because of the disagreement between her symptoms and the results of medical tests. After researching her condition she realizes that she is not facing this illness alone, and discovers communities who are willing to share their stories on how they deal with FD.
Wu does a great job creating a verbal portrait in her writing. She provides details from her past experience in the emergency room. For instance, she recalls one experience when a doctor and a group of interns visits her in a room. She remembers the doctor giving her the speech that many people with FD face; a conversation that does not blame her for faking anything, but gives a “heads up” to the patient that they are aware that nothing is wrong with them. Another instance where Wu applies a great verbal portrait is when she describes Dr. Marc Feldman’s smile. She describes his smile as a smile where his intentions are not wholehearted. This smile deeply resonates with her; “If I am a freak, I don’t want to feel like someone else is making money by sensationalizing my misfortune, self-induced or otherwise”. Thus, these two examples helps the reader a gain a more personal feel to Wu and her thoughts and feelings regarding her illness.
Wu relies on many sources to further enhance her writing. To start, she first gets information about her illness online through Dr. Feldman’s website and his online forum. She describes her experience on this website as unpleasant because the chat included many members of loved ones who faced FD not actual members who live with the illness. Additionally, she triangulates information from her sources to further support her writing. For instance, she notes how Dr. Feldman was not being as effective in his responses in his online forum, and was too focused in promoting his book. Wu then provides many examples where this occurs, further proving her point. Another example where she triangulates information is in Dr. Feldman’s forum. “Odette” is concerned over her mothers behavior with FD and asks Dr. Feldman for advice. After Feldman’s advice of trusting your instincts, Wu starts to speak upon the difference in responses the doctor is advising, showing how unhelpful the doctor truly is.
Footnotes play an important role in Wu’s text. Footnotes provides the reader more information about the quote Wu chose. Additionally, the footnotes provides the reader the source of her information, in the chance that any of her readers would like to further investigate a certain topic.
In conclusion, Elise Wu’s “Out Patient” talks about the experience Wu has faced in her journeying before and after her self-diagnosis of Factitious Disorder. Her writing gives readers a strign insight on the community of FD’ers and the challenges they faced in overcoming their illness.