Month: May 2019

Destined to Be Fatigued

Crashing the car should have been the wake-up call.
The driver had fallen asleep at the wheel while driving a familiar road at midday. If angels exist, they were surrounding the driver’s car that afternoon. Because the car crossed two lanes of traffic when no cars were coming from the opposite direction. Because the vehicle headed toward a fenced-in spread of uninhabited land. Because the accident did not occur where homes line the road. Because the driver escaped with mostly minor injuries and did not harm another soul. And because the metal fence post that came through the windshield missed the driver’s head by just inches.

Labor of Love

Push, push. You’re almost there. Your baby is almost here!

As a family medicine physician, I’ve uttered some rendition of that speech numerous times during my career. Yet, when the tables are turned, those words were less than comforting.

The Last Call of the Day

Mark Knudson ~

Why is it always the last call of the day,
Bag packed by the door, and sometimes I’ve even put my coat on,
And then I know that I have to make the call.

If I was smart, I’d schedule a visit, have the nurse set up a time
To have the patient drop by after the test is done,
If only I was smart!

But today it is too late for that, Friday night,
And a weekend of intolerable waiting for the patient,
So I make the call at half past 6.

one forty five


Martha Nance

About the artist: 

Martha Nance is a neurologist in Minnesota who specializes in neurodegenerative disorders. She has had a few works of narrative medicine published within the last year, but finds pictures, at times, to be worth a screenful of words.

About the artwork:

“It often comes as an unfortunate surprise (particularly for family members) when my Parkinson’s patients struggle to ‘draw a clock.’ This is a collage of clocks, showing many different ways that people struggle to portray time. Should this person drive? Manage her own medications? The picture tells the story…”

Visuals editor:

Sara Kohrt

A Hard Lesson in Humility

Matthew earned the nickname “Little Einstein” at eighteen months old, when he recognized the letter “T” and began announcing it at every opportunity. So when Matthew was selected for CLUES—his school’s gifted program—in third grade, it was no surprise. “Congratulations!” I said, pulling him into a hug. “I’m so proud of you!” Then I thought about the other students who weren’t chosen. Humility had been drilled into me as a young girl, and I wanted to pass that value on to my children. Quietly, I cautioned Matthew, “You know being in CLUES doesn’t make you better than anyone else, right?” 

Lost Memories

Throughout my pregnancy, I didn’t know if I was having a boy or a girl–I wanted to be surprised. When my baby was delivered, the doctor yelled, “It’s a girl!” A daughter–what I’d hoped for! Although I would have loved a son equally, in all honesty I’d hoped for a daughter. I thought long and hard about her name, wanting something significant, and chose Olivia, which means peace, and Rose, because I had a passion for roses. Olivia Rose.

What do I do with that name now?

Ruled by Angst

Even as a young girl, I lived by the rules. And in my work as a teacher, rules guided how I ran my classroom. However, as a single parent of a son and a daughter, I was never clear on the rules. Instead, I wandered through the maze of parenting, often losing my way and believing that no path would lead me to a safe exit.

An Editor’s Invitation: Parenting

I just returned from a conference in Toronto. At one point, I was sitting at a table with three strangers–family physicians from distant locations. One was cradling a toddler. Another was visibly pregnant with her third child. Before long the four of us were passing around cellphone photos of our offspring, blessing one another with little cries of admiration.

That’s how long it took for us to go from strangers to intimate friends.

Scroll to Top