Meet the woman who is taking the shame out of being in hospital one selfie at a time.
Her name is Karolyn Gehrig and she is a disabled, multi-disciplinary artist living in Los Angeles. Gehrig suffers from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) an incurable connective tissue disorder, which occurs when the body is unable to unable to generate colagen. It affects the skin, joints, muscles, ligaments, blood vessels and visceral organs, causes severe pain and requires frequent visits to the hospital.
Despite her diagnosis in 2003, Gehrig is managing to stay upbeat with a simple philosophy:
Wake up in a hospital, apply lipgloss, feel 1000 times better. And so created #hospitalglam – a selfie-fuelled social movement.
“There’s nothing about being disabled that I should be ashamed of. Taking care of yourself is really important,” Gehrig said.
This waiting room #hospitalglam kicked off a discussion about disability, peer support and self care. Having #ehlersdanlos means my #disability is often an #invisibleillness and maintaining a visible presence in my non-disability communities while doing #hospitalglam has been valuable. I care for myself and I have no shame attached to the health issues that make up my life, and the lives of the people who mean so much to me. We are all fucking gorgeous, especially when seeking treatment. Taking care of ourselves is paramount and no matter how you feel when you walk into that office, know that you are fucking flawless.
“The act of taking the photos reasserts my agency over my body in a space that is otherwise uncertain,” she said. “Sharing them transforms it into a way to normalize the experience of living with illness and hopefully lessens the stigma of taking care of yourself.”
Check out some of the images in the #hospitalglam gallery. A trip to the neurologist never looked so good.