Blood and Barbed Wire: Visualizing a friend's complex history


Recently I learned about a friend’s lifelong medical problems, which he’d done a great job of hiding. He’d had gut problems since he was a child, and in the past couple of years the symptoms had become severe and scary. In addition to pain and burning after eating, he was seeing large amounts of blood in the toilet. No doctors could explain what was going on, despite repeated batteries of testing. He was on a hamster wheel of treatment, switching between providers in an attempt to get answers; but each time, the doctors would recommend starting with diet changes, which he knew didn’t work. He was desperate and felt like no one was listening to him.

Since this is ‘what I do,’ I offered to work with him to put together a visual representation of his health before his next doctor appointment. Here’s how I did it and what we learned.

Katie McCurdy