"I don't just read Pulse, I adore it." --Donald Berwick MD
From this view of your ear
I see folds of fissures,
curves of shell washed
clean by briny tears. I see
Three delicate bones of
middle ear: malleus, incus
and stapes, the smallest
bones in the human body.
I see angular vestibules,
skull and sockets. Labyrinth
of tubes, tympanic drums.
But there is no pitch or timbre.
Not one note of a lullaby.
Not even one tiny rhyme.
I am a social worker working with severely mentally ill adults. One of my clients is Lawrence Walters, a small, thin man in his late fifties, very schizophrenic even while on medication. He talks about spirits holding him down, making him do things he doesn't wish to do. He is impossible when off meds, tolerable when on, and difficult just about all the time. But at last I've got an edge on Lawrence--and it's not because of any particular social-work skill.
Lawrence often asks me to take him places--usually shopping, but sometimes to medical appointments, such as an eye exam. (Lawrence is missing one eye, which some say he himself poked out when especially ill. I can't confirm this story, however, and I've not asked him.)
"You drew a perfect circle!" she exclaims.
I nod and smile as I explain,
"Yes, well, thank you...
And now this circle is a plate.
Half is vegetables.
A quarter is starch or sugar.
A quarter is protein--meat, dairy, eggs, or beans."
Now she nods and smiles.
We discuss her diabetes,
asking her son to help her do weekly foot exams.
She has lost weight.
I give heartfelt congratulations.
Before she leaves, my attending tells her
about a local food truck
selling fresh fruit and vegetables.
As she climbs down from the exam table,
she grins again and declares,
"Boy, I'm just impressed with you!"
a treasury of compelling stories and poems.
Includes The Resilient Heart , Babel: The Voices of a Medical Trauma and Confessions of a Seventy-Five-Year-Old Drug Addict. Foreword by Maureen Bisognano, President of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
Click to read more or to purchase.