The Osler Society of the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell kicked off its season of art and medicine with a new one-woman show called “I Found That the Sun Will Rise Tomorrow” by Anna Snapp—a comically dark story about Snapp’s battle with physical and mental illness. The performance, held on September 14, 2017, was hosted in conjunction with the Northwell Health’s Department of Psychiatry at the Teaching Center at LIJ Medical Center in New Hyde Park.
A learner of Shakespeare and other dramatic techniques, Snapp’s self-authored play is a poignant, humorous yet revealing recital of all the debilitating ailments, diagnoses, and painful incidents that her body and mind have endured since she was age 19. In fact, her afflictions are so varied and vast that she lists them for her audiences on a flip chart.
“It’s not just my story—it’s the story of a friend, a cousin, a coworker,” said Snapp, now 25. “There is a stigma surrounding mental and physical problems—the play is a way to engage discussion and create change—and I hope that it resonates with someone.”
Snapp is first diagnosed with painful Crohn’s disease, followed by C. diff, E. coli, SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), bipolar disorder, and a tidal wave of other maladies. The numerous medications used to treat her conditions lead to weight gain. In and out of the hospital and countless doctors’ offices, including two mental health treatment centers, Snapp often felt like a disease to be cured, not a person to be cared for.
“I’ve missed out on a lot of living [as a result of my issues],” said Snapp who has gained self-fulfillment and solace through acting. “I wanted someone to take time to listen, understand, and address me—not just my illness.”
For medical professionals and students who viewed Snapp’s performance and participated in a panel discussion, the presentation put into perspective the importance of looking beyond a patient’s symptoms to take into account the whole individual. “[Anna’s performance] helped me ‘feel’ and ‘get’ what the patient all too often experiences in our/my care,” said John Q. Young, MD, department of psychiatry director of residency training and professor and vice chair for education at Northwell.
Likewise for fourth-year Zucker School of Medicine student, Justin Pereira, it was a reminder to merge both person and professional when caring for patients: “The play allowed each of us to reflect inward on our own experiences and on the kinds of providers we hope to be.”
All those in attendance called the performance a “must see” for students, physicians, nurses and anyone who works with patients.
For more information about the Osler Society at the Zucker School of Medicine, please contact Lisa Martin, JD, at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit online at medicine.hofstra.edu.