Making critical health-related decisions
You have been reading Lissa, a graphic narrative written by Sherine Hamdy and Coleman Nye and illustrated by Sarula Bao and Caroline Brewer; the title is a colloquial Arabic term meaning “not yet” or “there’s still time.” The book tells the story of two friends, Layla and Anna, as they confront personal medical decisions, family relations, and health inequalities in the United States and revolutionary Egypt.
Questions are designed to help you reflect on the major themes raised by the book. Answer each in about 100 words each:
- Anna and Layla are both involved in making critical health-related decisions that the other doesn’t understand. Why does Layla think it’s bizarre for Anna to “treat a disease that she does not have”? Why can’t Anna understand the reluctance of Layla’s family to consider a transplant for Abu Hassan?
- In one scene, a patient tells Layla that a kidney transplant doesn’t necessarily work when there are so many elements of the food, water, and air that continue to make a person sick. What are some of the factors identified in the book that produce toxic ecologies of both cancer and kidney disease?
- In what is known as “Graphic Medicine,” comics are increasingly used in medical education to teach professional ethics and observational skills, to foster empathy among providers, and to reinforce how healing involves more than treating a body. Do you think Lissa is successful in achieving these goals? Why or why not? What do you think medical, nursing, or other students in the health profession could gain from reading this work?
- Identify (citing a page number) and discuss a specific moment or scene in the book that you found to be memorable, frustrating, or inspiring. Why was this section significant to you?