The Person Inside The Patient

November 13, 2019 by celia

Adrienne Barnes, a nurse diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, was featured in “Voices From The Lived World of Illness,” a video produced by the Center for Communication in Medicine. During the interview she shared her frustrations when her doctor tells her “there’s really nothing I can do for you.” (more…)


Transforming Medical Crisis into Opportunities to Find Meaning in One’s Life

October 16, 2019 by celia

The Center for Communication in Medicine, which I am a founder, decided that our next SpeakSooner Community Education Program on October 26 in Bennington would focus on the theme of transforming a medical crisis into an opportunity to find meaning and joy in one’s life. Planning this event brought to mind a woman whom I had known from time passed.

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I Want a Doctor Who Can Say…

May 19, 2019 by celia

In my most recent blog What Do You Want From Your Doctor, I shared a response to this question by a patient who participated in the Writing is Good Medicine® program I facilitated at Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center. (more…)


Do They Know What I Am Thinking?

March 27, 2019 by celia

Always interested in receiving feedback about the “Difficult Conversations Toolkit”, a patient asked me if I would read what she had written.  “I am unsure,” she said, “of how I have structured it.”

“I’d be pleased to read what you have written,” I said. (more…)


When The Conversation Changes

February 27, 2019 by celia

“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. (more…)


The Illusion of Caring—is That Enough?

January 6, 2019 by celia

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?” (more…)


Quality of Life – We All Want It But What Is It?

September 26, 2018 by celia

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.”  (more…)


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…)