Eden and I Are Playing Go Fish (Susie Berg)

She wears a pink cap to cover her bald head. She misses her hair. A lot. She’s five. There’s a tumour on her brain. Do you have any... She stops and studies her cards, points one by one, silently counting spades. ...sixes? Her mother shakes with laughter, soundlessly, clears away tears, touches Eden’s chin. You … Continue reading Eden and I Are Playing Go Fish (Susie Berg)

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Things Taken (Isabel Hoskins)

Summary: A woman undergoes a hysterectomy to treat ovarian cancer. Though grateful for her survival, she spends her days thereafter mourning the loss of her menstrual periods - "[rhythms], predictable and cyclical and intimate". It was October, the thick middle of autumn, when I had my last period. I remember that I bled onto newly … Continue reading Things Taken (Isabel Hoskins)

Whose Body Is It, Anyway? (From “Complications” by Atul Gawande)

The first time I saw the patient it was the day before his surgery, I thought he might be dead. Joseph Lazaroff, as I'll call him, lay in bed, his eyes closed, a sheet pulled up over his thin, birdlike chest. When people are asleep—or even when they are anesthetized and not breathing by themselves—it … Continue reading Whose Body Is It, Anyway? (From “Complications” by Atul Gawande)

Jean Beckie (William Carlos Williams)

DURING A TIME like this, they kid a lot among the doctors and nurses on the obstetrical floor because of the rushing business in new babies that's pretty nearly always going on up there. It's the Depression, they say, nobody has any money so they stay home nights. But one bad result of this is … Continue reading Jean Beckie (William Carlos Williams)

CPSO Procedural Hearing: “A True Story”

Dr.---------- Practice Area: Family Medicine Date of Registration: Independent Practice, --- Hearing Information: • Plea of No Contest of Professional Misconduct • Statement of Facts • Joint Submission on Penalty On August 9, ----, the Discipline Committee found that Dr. ---------- committed an act of professional misconduct in that he engaged in conduct or an … Continue reading CPSO Procedural Hearing: “A True Story”

Communion (Richard B. Weinberg, MD)

I am not an intimidating person, but I found my last patient of the day huddled in the comer of the examining room, as if awaiting an executioner. She was in her midtwenties, and she clutched a sheaf of medical records against her chest like a shield. She had made the appointment to our clinic herself. The face … Continue reading Communion (Richard B. Weinberg, MD)

From Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood (William Wordsworth)

...Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting: The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star, Hath had elsewhere its setting, And cometh from afar: Not in entire forgetfulness, And not in utter nakedness, But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God, who is our home: ...Though nothing can bring back … Continue reading From Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood (William Wordsworth)

Admission, Children’s Unit (Theodore Deppe)

Like the story of St. Lawrence that repelled me when I heard it in high school, how he taught his disciples to recognise the smell of sin, then sent them in-pairs through the Roman Empire, separating good from evil, brother from brother. Scrap of legend I’d forgotten until, interviewing a woman, I drew my breath … Continue reading Admission, Children’s Unit (Theodore Deppe)

Hooked On Neonatology (John D. Lantos)

A pediatrician wonders about NICUs’ hidden cost of success. I almost fainted during my first visit to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). I was a fourth-year medical student. The babies got to me. Some of them were pink, others a bit grayish. Some were in diapers and seemed to be looking around. Others were … Continue reading Hooked On Neonatology (John D. Lantos)

The Smile Was (Dannie Abse)

one thing I waited for always after the shouting after the palaver the perineum stretched to pain the parched voice of the midwife Push!Push! and I can’t and the rank sweet smell of the gas and I can’t as she whiffed cotton wool inside her head as the hollow stones of gas dragged her down … Continue reading The Smile Was (Dannie Abse)

The Egg and the Sperm (Emily Martin)

The theory of the human body is always a part of a world-picture.... The theory of the human body is always a part of a fantasy. [JAMES HILLMAN, The Myth of Analysis] As an anthropologist, I am intrigued by the possibility that culture shapes how biological scientists describe what they discover about the natural world. … Continue reading The Egg and the Sperm (Emily Martin)