Jef Gamblee ~
The day began in Mom's room with a 10:00 am conference at Upper Valley Medical Center, west of Columbus, Ohio. In attendance were my ninety-three-year-old mother Joanne (now in her third week of hospitalization), her palliative-care nurse Richard, her Episcopal priest Mother Nancy and myself.
Mom was on high-flow oxygen therapy delivered through a nasal cannula. Despite this, her blood-oxygen levels were well below normal. Clearly, her lung function was declining. Her heart wasn't pumping well, and her blood pressure was barely seventy over fifty.
Things can change quickly with our elders. Thirty days earlier, Mom was going to dinner with friends and taking excursions in her assisted-living facility's van to pick up things she needed, including small bottles of wine to share with "the girls" at dinner.
David Coulter ~
This month, at medical schools across the country, first-year students will officially don the physician's traditional white coat for the first time.
The white-coat ceremony is a powerful symbolic moment. It signifies that the students are moving beyond their identity as ordinary citizens and into their new identity as healers. The ceremony celebrates their idealism and their commitment to a life of caring for others. And, although they may not realize this, it constitutes a pledge to assume responsibility for their patients' health and well-being--and the stresses that go with that commitment. As the students accept this responsibility, their lives will be forever changed.
Laura Altshul ~
I never grew Virginia creeper,
this twining shiny vine rapidly
unfurling its five-leafed bouquet,
yet it crept into my garden, stealthily
wrapping its strong tendrils round
stems and bushes and trees
in lusty demanding embrace,
attaching onto the house foundation,
embedding into cement and wood.