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.” 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.
“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”.
Tacked to my bulletin board within my line of sight are the words of Dr. William Osler,a 19th century physician who pioneered taking medical students out of the classroom to learn at the bedside. Dr. Osler understood that medicine was more than science. He encouraged the students to:
“Not every patient can be saved, but his illness may be eased by the way the doctor responds.” Anatole Broyard, Intoxicated By My Illness
I received an e-mail from a colleague. The subject line read: “Wow look what they’ve discovered!” Attached was a link to the New York Times WELL column “Letting Patients Tell Their Stories.” My eyes drop down to the image of a doctor with his stethoscope in hand
As we ready ourselves for the first in our 2016 SpeakSooner community education series I ask myself how does one decide whether or not to attend a play, movie, or, in this instance, a community program. Is it the subject matter, panel of experts, a friend’s invite, a colleague’s suggestion or the reviews?
It ‘Tis the Season’…One of the gifts I received from a friend was a copy of The Well-Tempered Sentence: A Punctuation Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager and the Doomed. I’ve been known to ignore the rules of punctuation. My friend had asked me about my “penchant for the ellipses.” The book defines the ellipsis’ function as “indicating omitted words.”