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.”
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.
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.
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.
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…”
On Being Ill (1930)
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.