Rheumatoid arthritis, shall we say, is a crippling ailment, both literally and figuratively. It is a common ailment and yet there are only few individuals who are willing to admit that they have Rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is also an ailment that can heavily affect the social life of the person who suffers Rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis can also be understandably make the lives of the individuals affected difficult since they can’t be shall we say not fully functional and thus it has certain effects their productivity.
But this vicious ailment could be more difficult for people in their prime since there is a common notion that this ailment is for old people only (allaboutarthritis. com). Those individuals in their prime that are affected by Rheumatoid arthritis in many ways could not do certain things that are expected of them because of the ailment. This essay will try to examine and present the impact of the ailment called rheumatoid arthritis on the life, especially on the social life of the fictional character Malene from the novel “The Exception” by the Danish Writer Christian Jungersen.
Her story is somewhat a common case in real life as there are many individuals who suffer from a medical condition that adversely affects the normalcy of their lives. To start off, Rheumatoid arthritis is an ailment that causes the patient constant pain due to inflammation of the joint areas. It is an autoimmune disease meaning the body itself is attacking its own body tissues with its own immune system by mistake. Rheumatoid arthritis is an ailment that is considered a chronic ailment. That just means that rheumatoid arthritis can unfortunately last a lifetime for a patient.
Medical practitioners say that the causes of Rheumatoid arthritis are still unknown. The known symptoms for Rheumatoid arthritis can range from joint and swelling of affected the body parts, muscle pains and stiffness, poor appetite, high levels of fatigue, fever among many others. (Medlineplus. gov) Rheumatoid arthritis could have a large impact on the social life of the individual affected just like the case of the character of Malene in the novel “The Exception” by the Danish Writer Christian Jungersen.
The effect of her rheumatoid arthritis is amplified by the fact that she has a lively personality and has a reputation of having an active social and love life. Here is an excerpt from the novel that suggests Malene is quite the social person “Malene, who has always been brilliant at voices…improvising Chris’s words. From time to time she entertains everyone with parodies…” (Jungersen 20). Actually. That previous line implies to us that Malene is quite the entertainer, that she is the kind of person who is comfortable of being around other people.
It can also be concluded that she is used to that scenario and now her rheumatoid arthritis is affecting her confidence to mingle with other people. In a scene wherein Malene was in a social gathering, she calls on to her best friend Iben to tell her in secret that she has to leave the social gathering because of her rheumatoid arthritis attack “‘Look, I really came over to tell you that I’d better leave. My feet …” (Jungersen 12) She didn’t even finished the sentence because she was quite actually shy about her condition, even to a close friend who she could tell anything.
She is still young and it is a common notion that it is unusual for young people to suffer rheumatoid arthritis “Three years have [just] passed since Malene received her degree” (Jungersen 6). That excerpt from the novel implies to us that Malene is relatively a fresh college graduate. That just means that her age can be approximated from the age of twenty to thirty years of age. Malene may have felt so down because maybe she feels that there are still more to do for people within her age of range.
And not that she has the crippling disease of rheumatoid arthritis, her morale could had been dragged down and he confidence to take part in social activities is greatly affected. According to the National Institutes of Health, people suffering rheumatoid arthritis find it difficult to mingle and interact with other people. They say that people that have rheumatoid arthritis are very prone to having low confidence in their self and their ability to socialize.
People that have rheumatoid arthritis may feel that they can’t keep up with other people that don’t suffer the ailment, that is why they just stay in a low-profile (National Institutes of Health). That would pose a problem for Malene since she is seemingly always having an above-the-radar profile. She is described in the novel as having a lively personality and attractive physical features as conveyed by Iben’s jealousy to Malene’s physical beauty “Iben…felt envious of her friend, who always met such exciting men through her work,and was good-looking enough to attract many of them” (Jungersen 16).
Rheumatoid arthritis would have a big effect on Malene’s confidence since she was described in the novel as rather vain “Malene comes back, trailing a faint scent of perfume and wearing a flimsy, chocolate-coloured dress… Malene wants to finish her make-up (Jungersen 6-7)”. Her slight vanity would further dramatize her situation of a young woman having rheumatoid arthritis because as we know vain people, they detest having imperfections, even the thought of it.
Rheumatoid arthritis could be considered an imperfection because it can cause swellings in affected body parts. These swellings on affected body parts can be considered a quite unattractive feature. Malene is not used to being unattractive, she may have always been a beautiful woman and always attractive to men as explicitly implied by the lines “Malene, always so sure of being attractive to men, is making a big fuss over nothing” (Jungersen 16).
It is just understandable for a young woman, who was always convinced to be always attractive to men, to be questioning her own beauty now that she has an ailment that can deform her beautiful physical features. She may have felt really down when she first heard the news that she was diagnosed to have rheumatoid arthritis in such a young age. That just meant to her that even at her young age, she will be suffering an ailment that only old people should be suffering from.
It is not improbable that she may have thought that would look as an old woman and that people in her range of age won’t be comfortable hanging alongside her because she looks more mature. Perhaps the most relevant and dramatic scene that displays Malene’s struggle with rheumatoid arthritis is when she had to change her normal shoes for a pair of shoe especially made for people who suffer rheumatoid arthritis “In the hall, Malene quickly changes to another pair of her expensive orthopaedic shoes, which she has to wear because of her arthritis.
” (Jungersen 8) We should note that she had to change her shoes in a quick manner. The probable reason for her quickly changing shoes is that she is somewhat ashamed to show other people her special condition. In that scene, Malene and Iben were at the hall where there would be other people. Maybe Malene got a little comfortable to change her shoes in the hall because she was with her best friend that could cover for her as she was changing. What is dramatic in that scene was the fact that she was always convinced that she was a beautiful woman.
Through that fact we can make an assumption that she was used to wearing fashionable and fancy “normal” shoes. And now that she has rheumatoid arthritis, she is forced by the crippling pain of the ailment to wear unfashionable-doctor-prescribed shoes. It is just sad to imagine that she may have once wore expensive fancy shoes that were tailored by the likes of Prada, and now she is being forced to wear a more expensive shoe tailored by a doctor specialized in treating joints, not in making women look elegant.
As we know it, shoes are probably one of the shortest way to a woman’s heart. And now Malene’s maybe sad because she can’t wear beautiful “normal” shoes that she was once used to wear. Consequently, setting aside the effects on the social life, rheumatoid arthritis can also have adverse effects on the individual’s love life. This portion of the paragraph is included because love life and relationships can be also considered as a form of the social life. It seems that individuals with rheumatoid arthritis find it difficult to be comfortable approaching other people.
They also find it difficult to talk about their condition openly to people, even if they have close relationships. They find it difficult to communicate openly to others because they are having the fear of being judged or rejected. Some even come to the point of being frustrated when they are trying to explain their condition because others without rheumatoid arthritis find it difficult to relate to the patient. (National Institutes of Health) That was the same case for Malene as rheumatoid arthritis had ruined her already fragile relationship with his boyfriend.
Malene and her boyfriend were already having fights about the shaky status of their relationship. Malene’s boyfriend was complaining about the lack of time that Malene gives him and their relationship. Malene’s boyfriend had accused her of having so much time worrying other things besides him and their relationship. These things would include her work and unfortunately her condition of having rheumatoid arthritis. In that sense, her ailment was one of the main factors that had caused her a happy relationship with her boyfriend.
As if it wasn’t enough that she had worried that her boyfriend won’t like her because her body parts maybe deformed by rheumatoid arthritis. The ailment, rheumatoid arthritis had paved the way for her worst nightmare of being left by her boyfriend. But then again, that just means that her boyfriend doesn’t love her as much or as purely. It would be really quite ironic when eventually they get married and be taking their vows, especially when her boyfriend will say the “through sickness and in health…” part.
He couldn’t even give her girlfriend enough understanding that she has a condition and the kind of work that requires much understanding. Moreover, although it was not explicitly mentioned in the novel, Malene’s sexual relationship/s could have been affected by her condition. Since, rheumatoid arthritis can cause body pains and stiffness, her ability to perform sexually could be put in question. It is just an assumption that this could have been a factor to the weakening of Malene and her boyfriend’s relationship.
Almost all the main characters in the story were given their share of respective complications by the author. Iben. Malene’s best friend, had to deal with her horrible past of being abducted by terrorist on Africa, Camilla, the office secretary, also had to deal with his past because her former lover was a terrorist, Anne-Lise had to deal with both her past and present as she was constantly bullied by everyone around her. In the case of Malene, her complication is that she has rheumatoid arthritis.
As if the complications were not bad enough, the he complication Marlene and the other characters has to face is also seemingly being affected by their gender as they are working on a male dominated environment. Moreover, it is also seems that the complications that Marlene and the other characters have to face seems to be interfering their work, sort of preventing them not to function well in their work. The previous paragraph was included because work can also be considered a social function.
More common than not, people are obliged to sort of mingle and interact with other people, like co-workers, bosses, clients, etc, in their respective workplace. It is a common notion in workplaces that workers should mingle and interact with other workers to form a kind of cohesiveness within the workplace place with the assumption that they would function better together as a team. Another assumption is that that certain cohesiveness among the workers requires camaraderie and trust.
In the case of Malene, it seems that that certain trust is being damaged because she constantly keeps a secret from her fellow workers, her rheumatoid Rheumatoid arthritis. As stated earlier in this essay, Malene, just like others who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, find it hard to openly talk about their condition with other people. That is the very reason why she is only comfortable to discuss her situation with her best friend, Iben. It was very admirable of Malene’s best friend Iben to be always there to help her in times of need, or in the case of Malene, times of many needs.
Malene’s dependence to her best friend Iben was displayed in pages eighteen to nineteen “Iben felt like Malene’s squire, always ready to help and support her. Only Iben was allowed to know when Malene wasn’t capable of twisting the lids off jars, of buttoning her shirts, or of unlocking doors by herself. ” (Jungersen 18-19). As we can see from that excerpt, Malene was already dependent to her best friend Iben because Malene could no longer perform even the most basic of functions. It is important to take into consideration that these basic functions would include functions from Malene’s work.
With that taken into consideration, we can now conclude that rheumatoid arthritis did not only affected and deteriorated her joints and body tissues, but also Malene’s performance at work. And as stated earlier in this paragraph, if her performance at the workplace is being affected, it is just logical that her social life is also being affected by rheumatoid arthritis. Malene’s work was greatly affected because she had to miss several days of work due to rheumatic arthritis “The diagnosis was a sudden onset of rheumatoid Rheumatoid arthritis and Malene had been kept in hospital for several days” (Jungersen 18).
It is not only her work life that was affected by her condition, her social life had also suffered much because of rheumatoid arthritis. Her work and her boyfriend was basically the bulk of Malene’s social life. If she was bedridden for several days in the hospital, that just means several days of only talking to doctors and nurses, that wouldn’t qualify as a social activity at all since she had no choice but to be bedridden and answer the questions of the people from the hospital.
The effects to Malene’s social life of rheumatoid arthritis were also surfaced in the most poignant parts of the novel. In the novel “The Exception” the story revolved around the death threat that the office of Manlene had recived. She may have felt great fear because she knows in herself that she would have a hard time defending herself since rheumatoid arthritis had already weakened her. She may have felt helpless and unable to defend herself. All in all, the ailment rheumatoid arthritis had completely ruined Malene’s social life.
The condition had a great effect on her confidence especially because her job was to help people. She may have questioned her ability to help others if she can’t even help herself as she was dependent to Iben to help her in even the most basic of functions. Rheumatoid arthritis had brutally shattered the poor Malene’s relatively small-scaled social life that was mostly consisted of her work and her boyfriend. She had missed several social gatherings, work, dates with her boyfriend, appointments, and other social functions on repeated occasions throughout the novel because of her condition.
It was like the ailment rheumatoid arthritis did not only affected and deteriorated her joints and body tissues, but also Malene’s performance at work, relationship with her boyfriend and best friend, reputation as a lively and beautiful lady, basically all of her social life was turned upside down. To end, Malene’s condition is suffered by many people around us. Her story, or rather her tragedy tells us that people that have rheumatoid arthritis requires understanding from people who are fortunate enough to not have suffered the pains of the ailment.
Her story tells us that we shouldn’t be like her selfish boyfriend who is devoid of empathy. What we should be is like Iben who is selflessly helpful to these people.
Jungersen, Christian. The Exception. Orion Publishing Group. 2006 allaboutarthritis. com. Rheumatoid Arthritis. 24 March 2008 http://www. allaboutarthritis. com/AllAboutRheumatoidarthritis/layoutTemplates/html/en/contentdisplay/document/condition/Rheumatoid arthritis/generalArticle/dating_Rheumatoid arthritis_xml. htm Medlineplus. gov. Effects of Arthritis on the Dating Life.
24 March 2008 http://www. medicinenet. edu/rheumatoid_arthritis/page2. htm#2whatcausera arthritis. org . Arthritis and Young Teens. 24 March 2008 http://www. arthritis. org/juvenile- arthritis. php British Society for Rheumatology. Effects of Rheumatoid Arthritis on the Social Life. 24 March 2008 http://rheumatology. oxfordjournals. org/cgi/content/abstract/15/3/156 UW Medicine. edu. Frequently Asked Questions About Arthritis. 24 March 2008
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How Did Malene’s Arthritis Attacks Impact Her Social Life. (2017, Mar 21). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/how-did-malenes-arthritis-attacks-impact-her-social-life-essay