“Learn the art of fragmented, irrational conversations and follow
the patient’s lead instead of trying to control the dialogue.” Zen and the Art of Coping With Alzheimer’s
In the days when there were video stores I would walk by the film “Iris” countless times, knowing it was a story of the writer Iris Murdoch and her husband’s experience with her cognitive decline due to Alzheimer’s disease.
“Few patients realize how deeply they can affect their doctors,” notes Dr. Scott Haig. In his Time Magazine article (10/5/2007) he goes on to say, “That is a big secret in medicine, which doctors hate to admit.
I recently stumbled upon a writing exercise completed by a patient who participated in the “Writing is Good Medicine”TM, program, which I created to help patients put words to their experience of living with illness. Participants were encouraged to share their writing with family and healthcare providers in order to open communication about issues and concerns. For one exercise I posed the question, “What do you expect from your doctors?”
UNCERTAINTY IS THE REFUGE OF HOPE The Journal Intime Henri Frederic Amiel
Recently, I was reminded of a patient from time passed who had asked me, “How does one live with uncertainty?”
In The Wounded Story Teller writer and patient Arthur Frank notes, “When a doctor tells us we are sick they are not just diagnosing us—they are initiating a new chapter in the story of our lives. What would it be like for patients to tell their stories and doctors to read them?”
In Man’s Search for Meaning Victor Frankl said, “The quest for meaning is central to the human condition, and we are brought in touch with a sense of meaning when we reflect on that which we have created, loved, believed in or left as a legacy.”
I’d been thinking about the topic of my next blog when I found myself catapulted back in time to 2008 and an article written by Dr. John Launer in the Postgraduate Medical Journal, which referenced my work as a medical humanist. It was titled, Learning Humanity.