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Table 8 Factor 4. Relational. Items: I need to talk to people who have had my same experience; I need to be more reassured by my family and relations; I need less commiseration from others

From: Cancer patients' needs during hospitalisation: a quantitative and qualitative study

Dialogue Among Patients
Often what takes place among patients is a dialogue among 'deaf' (sic) people; for most of the time they don't listen to the others. They only have this need to communicate the horror that they are experiencing; a whole series of somber heavy feelings which, in that moment, they absolutely need to communicate and they don't even listen to what the other person is saying; so there is no real conversation. There is a passing of information; there is an irresistible urge to broadcast, to communicate. I often go to have breakfast in a common area and I hear myself asking 'Where do you have your cancer?' before asking me: 'What's your name?' or 'Where do you live?'. It is really absurd, but justified because I feel the fear that lies behind it and the necessity for recounting one's own story. It is an irresistible necessity; within about half an hour you can discover just about everything about such and such a person; and not only his/her illness, but also everything else that person had experienced previously.... But everything is centered on the disease, with extreme heaviness, with an extreme sense of claustrophobia.
By now I've got to the point where I listen to my walkman so as to avoid communication, so as not to listen to what the others are saying, and so as not to be involved in conversations with those who pretend to be interested in your disease, but who really wish to speak about their own.
The Rest of the World
The fact of being a cancer patient makes people enter into a role and makes them always speak about the same things. It makes others assume the belief that the rest of life, also of their life, is useless when faced with the gravity of the experience the patient is undergoing. There exists a disproportion. At times others, also friends, refuse to recount their things because of this disproportion of pain in mind; and this prevents the rapport from being on an equal level. Patients are seen as poor little animals who are 'people truly with a problem'; while the rest of the world has silly and inessential problems. This, therefore, causes others to always speak of the same things. So they speak not only of such and such a disease, but of everybody else's disease as well. What a nice catalogue of disasters and misfortune!! To sum up: our problems are vain; they're silly; they're frivolous; only you have true problems; let's speak only about your problems.