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fostering the humanistic practice of medicine publishing personal accounts of illness and healing encouraging health care advocacy

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Tag: hospitalization

Lake Michigan Sunset

Everything’s gone silent
as though a group of doctors has entered
the children’s ward.

Drone of water vehicles stowed,
a couple strolls the long edge of conversation.

Waves, like fear, have subsided—
only their small breaths remain.

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What Remains From the Pediatric Ward

I wake up in a hospital isolation room, where everything smells weird. It’s 1967 in Galway City, Ireland, and I’m four years old.

The worst smell is the antiseptic—a word I don’t know yet. The second smell is the crayons and newssheet coloring books on the nightstand. Christmas is gone, so how can these be for me?

The family lore would say that I spent nearly seven weeks in that hospital. That’s forty-nine days or 1,176 hours’ worth

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Hope Is the Thing With Feathers

When my son Locklin was a month old, he became very sick. He started throwing up and kept throwing up and ended up in the hospital.

The hospital ID band on my son’s wrist fit on my ring finger. I could cradle my son’s whole body in my hands.

The oxygen meter clamped to his finger was the size of a paper clip. It glowed red and blue, the colors of emergency, like tiny police

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Gratitude

When was the last time I combed my hair?
Before the ambulance, even longer

when the plate shattered
and he cleaned it up without speaking.

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Phlebotomist

Dianne Silvestri ~

The corridors seethe with nocturnal predators,
their voices low.

My door latch coughs, a figure hisses,
I’ve come to draw blood,

wrenches my arm like a lamb shank,
rasps it with alcohol, plunges her spike,

pops one after another color-coded
rubber-stoppered vial into the sheath,

unplugs each loaded one to add
to the crimson log pile weighting my thigh,

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Riding Out the Storm

Dan Yashinsky ~

In Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, if a blizzard keeps you in your neighbor’s house, they say you’ve been “storm-stayed.” I first learned this term from a storyteller in the Maritimes, and it’s come to hold special meaning for me and those I work with.

I am the storyteller-in-residence at a research and teaching hospital for the elderly, in Toronto. My work here, known as “storycare,” reflects the institution’s philosophy that

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