fostering the humanistic practice of medicine publishing personal accounts of illness and healing encouraging health care advocacy

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fostering the humanistic practice of medicine publishing personal accounts of illness and healing encouraging health care advocacy

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May 2024

Harvest

In early morning appointments,
the doctor’s coat reeks of cigarettes
as he moves closer,
says “Scoot down,”
inserts the probe.

They want me to want my eggs
in case the treatment takes them—
to hold fast to the dream of a child
with my dimples and dark eyes.

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Medication Automation

I should have said no years ago when the person at the register kindly asked, “Would you like to sign up for auto-refill?” Smiling, I replied, “Sure!” and volunteered my information to be uploaded into their computer.

Back then, this seemed revolutionary. No more remembering to call every month before I was out of pills, no searching my medicine cabinet for the most recent prescription bottle to get the seven-digit number I needed to punch into the phone for a refill. Now I’d never run out of medication!

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What’s Wrong With You?

Editor’s Note: This piece was awarded an honorable mention in the Pulse writing contest, “On Being Different.”

“What’s wrong with you?”

The words cut through my mind and hit me in the gut. My fragile fifteen-year-old ego splintered like a glass cup slipping through fingers onto hardwood.

Tears welled up, and my lips pursed, ready to respond. But I couldn’t find the words—for in that moment, I truly knew that I was broken, I was ugly, I was wrong. And even my mother knew it.

What’s Wrong With You? Read More »

Things I Did While Waiting for My Husband’s MRI to Happen

1. Reread the stern words, hammered into a sterile printout. The scope results: a scythe. Images of an alien inhabiting his inner world.

2. Notice the footprints on our living-room floor. Briefly consider cleaning.

3. Three breaths later. Hug him. Hug the kids. Hug myself. Hug the dogs. Tilt my head when he says that he doesn’t want to hug right now.

Things I Did While Waiting for My Husband’s MRI to Happen Read More »

Another Way to Listen

Editor’s Note: This piece was a finalist in the Pulse writing contest, “On Being Different.”

“David, from this moment forward, you’ll need to listen with your heart.”

It’s been forty years since I heard these words, but they ring as clearly in my mind as if it were yesterday.

My night nurse, Jill, whispered them into my left ear—the only one still able to hear after my fourteen-hour brain surgery to remove a tangerine-sized growth from the acoustic nerve, which affects hearing and balance.

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Over the Rainbow

Two days after the bus crash, I died. It was March 1996. A bus traveling at 60 mph had hit the car I was in, shattering my fifth and sixth cervical vertebrae and instantly paralyzing me from the shoulders down.

I was only twenty years old, and father to a one-year-old son. I spent the following forty-eight hours at a nearby hospital, on life support in the ICU. I couldn’t speak or breathe on my own.

I survived those two days on a sense of faith, expressed in a mantra: This is just temporary.

Over the Rainbow Read More »

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