REVISITING “LEARNING HUMANITY”

August 13, 2018 by celia

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. (more…)


Living With Uncertainty Punctuated

July 11, 2018 by celia

Recently I was asked if I had read “The Well-Tempered Sentence: A Punctuation Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager and Doomed” by Karen Elizabeth Gordon.

I confessed that I often ignore the rules of punctuation. (more…)


Writing is Good Medicine™

May 16, 2018 by celia

Who said, “Poetry is language writing itself out of a difficult situation?” I’m not sure. What does come to mind is the poem “Late Fragment” by Raymond Carver, who was a patient at the time.  (more…)


Double Edged Sword

March 30, 2018 by celia

 

In a recent KevinMD blog the term “doctor’s emotional switch,” was used by Dr. Mark Abrams to describe the protective coping mechanism ingrained in medical training to objectify their patients and thereby maintain emotional distance. He notes that this approach can have both positive and negative effects.  (more…)


The Scent of Words

March 4, 2018 by celia

THE SCENT OF WORDS

“In illness words give out their scent…
if at last we grasp the meaning, it is
all richer for having come to us…”

Virginia Woolf
On Being Ill (1930)

(more…)


The Way We Were

January 22, 2018 by celia

One of the things I’ve heard many patients speak about is how their diagnosis resulted in what felt like an identity crisis—it seemed to change “who they were” nearly instantly, and in a very fundamental way. (more…)


PRESCRIBING E-MAIL

December 18, 2017 by celia

As the year 2017 is coming to a close and a new year is approaching I find myself thinking about what has passed and what’s to come. (more…)


Dual Perspective

October 11, 2017 by celia

 

Each month I receive an online newsletter from “Cancer.Net”.  The newsletter provides approved information to help patients and families make informed healthcare decisions. A recent issue titled “What is Tumor Board?” catapulted me back in time. (more…)


RECORDING VISITS REVISITED

August 28, 2017 by celia

 

A colleague recently forwarded a New York Times article, “The Appointment Ends. Now The Patient is Listening.” The author Paula Span notes new efforts to help patients understand their health status by recording appointments.  (more…)


A ROLE REVERSAL: DOCTOR BECOMES A PATIENT

July 26, 2017 by celia

 

The title of one of my previous blogs in and of itself posed an important question: “What Is A Good Patient?” How one defines a “good patient” varies, as does their reason for wanting to be one. During my tenure as a Medical Humanist at Southwestern Vermont’s Regional Cancer Center I witnessed the difficult task doctors faced in reconciling those who became patients—to their illness.  (more…)