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)

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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…)


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…)


Invisibility Is Not A Natural State

June 28, 2017 by celia

“We need to raise our voices a little more, even as they say to us,
‘This is so uncharacteristic of you.’ Invisibility is not a natural state for anyone.”
MitsuyYamada

After each of our SpeakSooner community education programs I would ask myself, “How did this program differ from the one before? And, what was the take away?” I often wonder if others ask themselves the same questions.

What brought this to mind was an e-mail I received from a hospice social worker who often attends our community programs.

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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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