April 2022

May More Voices: Sexism

Dear Pulse readers,

My wife and I have raised two daughters. When our girls were little, and I was casting about for stories and characters to inspire them, it struck me with visceral force how the vast majority of cartoon and fantasy characters were male–from Micky Mouse and Bugs Bunny to Kermit the Frog and Winnie the Pooh. From Donald Duck, Daffy Duck and Yogi Bear to Rocky and Bullwinkle. Bert and Ernie. Felix the Cat. Superman.

Good Enough

Three weeks after my mastectomy, I traveled south.
I slung my carry-on bag crosswise over my body
and jostled my way through the airport, the bag
in front of me, to form a barrier, protecting my incision.
I let my arm rest on the bag,
to take the tension off the shoulder.

The “Accidents” That Shape Our Life’s Purpose

Completing my internal medicine training in the summer of 1962, I packed my car and, together with my wife and three young children, set out to find a place to practice internal medicine in a town with a good public school system.

While looking for a home from which to practice, I scrounged around for some work–police calls, house calls, calls from the ER–while my family lived on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

The Last Gandy Dancer

After I retired, my wife and I moved, giving me a reason to go through my old files. I found the notes from this story scribbled on some scrap paper that used to be everywhere in our offices. “Keep good notes,” someone once advised me. These are good notes and a good story.

Thirty-five years ago I was on the faculty at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and spent a lot of time traveling around the state.

Window of Lucidity

I sat by her bed for many consecutive days in the ICU, tubes running out from under stiff white sheets, making the trip to Boston after working all day. No hope was whispered around corners, from the quiet lips of nurses, and in a physician’s office the impossibility of a heart valve replacement was given to us.

Panic in the Outside Messages Folder

As I scan the numerous folders of my electronic medical record in-box, typically I open the “Outside Messages” folder with some trepidation. This folder contains messages from other hospitals detailing emergency room and specialist visits, hospitalizations, and test results concerning my patients.

One Big Stress Test

On Friday, February 29, my wife Mary and I had back-to-back doctor’s appointments at Kaiser Permanente in Moreno Valley—she to talk about a puzzling lethargy that had been dogging her and I to talk about an odd chest pain that I thought a remnant of the flu I’d had in late January.

Dr. McDougal listened to my heart and then listened to my description of the pain.

Scroll to Top

Call for Entries

Pulse Writing Contest

"On Being Different"