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Sertraline for Diabetes

 
She was here for her diabetes.  Her blood pressure was high, she said, because she expected me to scold her.  She hadn’t brought her log, but her sugars were in the 200s overall.  Not good.  She hadn’t been exercising, but she had been taking all her medications.

Again we talked about options: cut out carbohydrates, increase exercise, add medicines.  She admitted a predilection for bread, and I talked about mood eating: how stress can drive us

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Inner Turmoil

 
As a third-year medical student, I know I have a beautiful purpose in life. I care deeply about my patients. But the one person I am having difficulty treating is myself.

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Expectations

 
Before the start of every school year, from the time I was nine up through middle school, I would make the same school-year resolution: to become shy.

I have always been too enthusiastic. Out of all my classmates, I sang the loudest at birthdays, I laughed the longest at jokes and I asked more questions than anyone else. In fifth grade, a firefighter visited my class; after I’d asked my third question

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If Only

Beatrice Leverett

When I first met Jason, I was a third-year medical student halfway through my psychiatry rotation, and he was a newly admitted patient halfway through a nasty comedown from crystal meth.

He sat slumped in his chair, scowling, his face hidden by a baseball cap and black hooded sweatshirt, growling responses to my interview questions.

“Why do I have to do this? I hate this crap. I’ve answered these bullshit

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Medical School

We came to the one place I knew you dreaded.
 
 As joyful as you sounded when you called me at work after you plucked the envelope – a big envelope this time – from our mailbox, I knew our happiness lay in the expectation that other oversized bundles would follow. For it to truly be our happiness, our dream, we would need to rejoice at this triumph, then file it away and ultimately go

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Paprika

The insistent chirp on the phone was a reminder from Fran. “Don’t forget to stop at the compounding pharmacy.” For $58 cash these specialists turned a pill into a cream. GERD made Fran intolerant of most oral medicines.

Tired from the long drive, I thought back on my years of marriage. Back pain was the first problem, I think. Then GERD, then migraines, dizziness, TMJ, panic attacks, fibromyalgia. They were all tough, serious problems.

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A Day in the Life of a Psychiatrically Hospitalized Clinician (Part 2)

Liat Katz

Editor’s Note: This is the conclusion of Liat Katz’s remarkable story. Part 1 was published last week.

Lying here on this hard bed on the psych floor, staring at the white walls and ceiling, I think of my clients–and I don’t feel so alone. Their everyday experience is not so different from my short-lived experience here at the hospital. Often, they endure a whole day’s wait in the dirty Social Security

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A Day in the Life of a Psychiatrically Hospitalized Clinician (Part 1)

Liat Katz

Editor’s Note: This week Pulse presents the first installment of Liat Katz’s brave and forthright story. The conclusion will appear next week.

I am a licensed clinical social worker. And, occasionally, a mental patient. Today, in this inpatient psychiatric unit, I am more a patient than a social worker.

It is Monday morning, and I am eating breakfast across from Owen, a muscular, flannel-clad, Paul Bunyan-looking patient. Little pieces of his

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You Have a Split Personality

Raymond Abbott

I am a social worker working with severely mentally ill adults. One of my clients is Lawrence Walters, a small, thin man in his late fifties, very schizophrenic even while on medication. He talks about spirits holding him down, making him do things he doesn’t wish to do. He is impossible when off meds, tolerable when on, and difficult just about all the time. But at last I’ve got an edge on

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He Ain’t Heavy

Edward Beal

In my decades as a psychiatrist, I’ve seen many different kinds of patients; only in the past five years, though, have I worked with soldiers.

I see them through TeleHealth, an organization that offers patients long-distance care via a sophisticated form of Skyping.

I originally took this job for financial reasons (during the economic downturn of 2008), but I quickly discovered its unique rewards.

Early on, for instance, as

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Finding a Bed in Bedlam

Jo Marie Reilly

There’s a full moon tonight.

“That’s when crazy things happen,” my superstitious mom always says.

I’m a family physician doing weekend call at my urban community hospital. My pager rings incessantly. As I answer yet another call from the emergency room downstairs, I think, Maybe Mom has a point.

“Got a suicidal patient with nowhere to go,” the ER physician yells into the phone, against the background commotion.

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Chocolate Cake

Sanyu Janardan

I was a first-year medical student, starting my first afternoon at an outpatient clinic as part of an introductory course in clinical medicine. My white coat was freshly washed; I had a rainbow of pens in one coat pocket, and my shiny name tag dangled from the other. I only hoped that I was as prepared as I looked.

I entered Mrs. Carr’s room. A fifty-five-year-old woman, she sat gingerly at

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