WHAT IS A ‘GOOD PATIENT’?

April 26, 2017 by celia

  “Variability is the law of life…no two bodies are alike, no two individuals react and behave alike
under the conditions which we know as disease.” – William Osler, MD

In my previous blog I noted, “patients’ want to be good patients,” which prompted several people to ask, “What is a good patient?”  (more…)


Stories Are The Antibodies Against Illness

April 10, 2017 by celia

 

I often think about what the writer and patient Anatole Broyard said, “Stories are the antibodies against illness.”

It’s hard enough that a diagnosis comes along to threaten our lives—does it also have to threaten our life stories?   (more…)


The Waiting Room Syndrome

February 22, 2017 by celia

 

“When I think of people in waiting rooms, including myself, I picture us rifling restlessly through battered magazines,” writes Rachel Hadas, Guest Editor of  “The Waiting Room Reader II:  Words to Keep You Company”.

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Prescribe The Pen

January 25, 2017 by celia

To be a person is to have a story to tell.  —Isak Dinesen

It’s hard enough that a diagnosis comes along to threaten our lives—does it also have to threaten our life stories? (more…)


We Do Not Remember Days—We Remember Moments

December 23, 2016 by celia

And now we welcome the New Year. Full of things that have never been…
-Rainer Maria Rilke

With the coming of each New Year I think about what has passed, passing and to come. But today I find myself not reflecting on 2016. Instead, (more…)


WHO IS IN CHARGE OF MY CARE?

November 30, 2016 by celia

 

Tacked to my bulletin board within my line of sight are the words of Dr. William Osler,a 19th century physician who pioneered taking medical students out of the classroom to learn at the bedside. Dr. Osler understood that medicine was more than science. He encouraged the students to:

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CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE JOYS OF CAREGIVING?

September 7, 2016 by celia

 

For those of you who were not able to attend our most recent SpeakSooner community education program “Being A Caregiver & Caring for Oneself: A Delicate Balance” (August 16 at the Manchester Community Library), I’d like to share a moment from that evening. (more…)


Regret…

August 3, 2016 by celia

 

I received an e-mail from a friend. The subject: “Regret is an important teacher…” My eyes focus on the ellipsis, not the Huffington Post link. I think about the power of three small dots to punctuate what is left unsaid. In an instant my mother’s words, which in time had become her mantra, echoed in my mind’s ear: “You never regret what you don’t say.(more…)


THE HUMAN SIDE OF DOCTORING

June 13, 2016 by celia

“Not every patient can be saved, but his illness may be eased by the way the doctor responds.”
Anatole Broyard, Intoxicated By My Illness

I received an e-mail from a colleague. The subject line read: “Wow look what they’ve discovered!” Attached was a link to the New York Times WELL column “Letting Patients Tell Their Stories.” My eyes drop down to the image of a doctor with his stethoscope in hand (more…)


NURSES AT THE CROSSROADS…

May 13, 2016 by celia

 

During my tenure as a medical humanist at Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center (2002-2005) I was an eyewitness to the complexities of communication between doctors, nurses, patients, and family members.

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