Paul Gross

March More Voices: Finding Balance

Dear Pulse readers,

When our daughters were little, I would head home from my workday thinking, Now I can finally relax.

Of course, once I got home, any notion of relaxation took a back seat to my second job, which involved game playing, food dispensing, story reading, diaper changing, song inventing and rule enforcing. There was often great joy in these activities–and, to be honest, some boredom and fatigue as well.

February More Voices: Suicide

Dear Pulse readers,

My cousin Pedro had pale, northern European skin and straight brown hair–looks that contrasted with the olive complexion and black waves of his adoptive parents, my Cuban uncle and aunt, and their two biologic daughters.

My brother and I met Pedro when we went to visit my uncle’s family in Colombia. He was about sixteen at the time, an outgoing teen who dressed well, liked to party and had Playboy photos stuck to the walls of his bedroom.

A few years later, he took his own life.

January More Voices: Me, Too

Dear Pulse readers,

She came to me many months after the birth of a healthy child. I’d looked after her during the pregnancy, and her husband had accompanied her on many of those visits. He was a nice man–pleasant and attentive. I did my best to include him in our conversations about the pregnancy and upcoming birth.

Now she was pregnant again, and she’d come to see me alone. Her husband wanted her to continue the pregnancy, she said, but she wasn’t so sure.

December More Voices: Connections

Dear Pulse readers,

When I was a second-year medical student, a physician in our lecture hall warned us what would happen if we made a particular error:

“Your patient’s family will sue you,” he said sharply, as if reprimanding us for a mistake we’d already made.

“And you will deserve to be sued.”

November More Voices: Emergencies

Dear Pulse readers,

One can’t listen to the news these days or think about the upcoming midterm elections without feeling that our nation is in a state of emergency–a civic emergency that we can all address by making sure to vote and by encouraging others to do the same.

When it comes to medical emergencies, I realized early on in my training that I was not one of those doctors who relished catastrophic situations.

October More Voices: Surgery

Dear Pulse readers,

I’m very disappointed.

I was scheduled to have a surgical procedure this past Tuesday. Knowing that October’s More Voices theme would be Surgery, I was planning, in this letter, to recount lurid details of the operation and of my postoperative pain or delirium, depending upon how many narcotic pills I was ingesting.

Alas, my procedure was postponed for a week.

August More Voices: Coping

Dear Pulse readers,

For years my family has attended religious services at a Unitarian Universalist congregation. In this congregation, our minister gets Sunday off every few weeks, and the service is led by a different group of congregants. Everyone gets to participate.

The themes of these congregant-led services often involve coping. They might be summed up as: “What keeps me going?”

July More Voice — Abortion: Then and Now

Dear Pulse readers,

About a dozen years ago, a fourteen-year-old teenager presented to me with some vague symptoms. She was accompanied by her aunt.

The symptoms included abdominal discomfort. I asked to speak with her alone and asked if she’d ever had sexual relations. She looked puzzled, as if she didn’t quite know what that meant. “No,” she said. She seemed so young and lacking in life experience that I believed her.

June More Voices: Gun Violence

Dear Pulse readers,

A few years after my father passed away, my mother was visited at her New Jersey condominium by one of her favorite nephews, who drove down to visit from Canada.

Something happened–as I recall, it was a misunderstanding over a condominium parking space that my cousin was using. In trying to sort this out, the son of a friend of my mother’s became enraged and suddenly, without warning, punched my cousin in the face, knocking him down.

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.

April More Voices: Accidents

Dear Pulse readers,

When I was a college sophomore, my mother called me in tears to tell me that one of my Canadian cousins had died in a car accident. A bright, vivacious university student, Orianne had been dozing in the back seat of a Volkswagen beetle driven by a friend, who’d apparently lost control of the car. It swerved off the road and rolled over, killing her.

No one else in the car was injured.

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