Take My Intestines, PLEASE!!

Published on Jul 9, 2012

Miranda Gold’s Crohn’s Disease Comedy Routine

Giles Duley: When a reporter becomes the story

Published on Mar 21, 2012 Giles Duley Photographer

Giles was a photographer who, some years ago, tired of celebrity photoshoots and the attendant egos and tantrums that often accompanied them. He flung his camera on the photoshoot bed and it bounced out the window into the streets of SoHo, London. At that point he decided to change course and dedicated himself to using his camera to “tell unheard stories of those caught in conflict and economic hardship around the world.” His work took him to Sudan, Angola, Ukraine and Bangladesh, among other places. Early in 2011, on assignment in Afghanistan, Duley stepped on a landmine. Despite the fact that the horrific accident left Duley a triple amputee, he continues to dedicate his life to telling stories through photography .Though he became the story, the real story is his photographs. “Do you ever have one of those mornings, when you just can’t be bothered to put your legs on? ” – @gilesduley

Attitude

I’ve come to believe that seriously sick people are often subject to some very interesting comments from well-intentioned non-sick people. They are frequently inspired by #platitudes from self-help-books, Google chat rooms (heaven forbid), or beliefs that have been around for so long that they are a natural part of common discourse.

To be fair, when we are confronted with the uncomfortable task of talking to a sick person, our conversation can easily become a pre-programmed response that make us feel better for having said something uplifting, positive, sympathetic, or socially acceptable. It’s antiphonal, like the “god bless you” after someone sneezes.

And, for the record, I have probably said every single one of them myself at one time or another.

But as the recipient of them after my diagnosis and subsequent chemotherapy for metastatic primary peritoneal cancer, I felt like I was listening to some foreign language. I have even questioned if I really said some of those things that now make me feel like Charlie Brown listening to his mother’s distorted ..wah,..wah…wah…

I’ve heard excited reports from people who said they knew a person who had exactly (strong emphasis on “exactly”) what I have and “she’s been just fine for 20 years.”

There was [...] continue the story

Doctor as Patient

Maria Yang, MD

November 11, 2012

It had been about two years since I last saw a primary care doctor. I was still living in New York City. My initial—and only—appointment with that physician lasted nearly an hour.

The front desk clerk had a round, pale face. Behind her was a textured wall over which ran a thin sheet of quiet water. Lush leaves spilled over the brim of the planter onto the marbled countertop.

“I’ll let the doctor know you’re here,” she nearly whispered.

He was a family practice physician. He was friendly. He smiled at me. He asked me if I lived in the city. When he learned that I worked as a psychiatrist, he commented, “Wow. That’s hard work, Dr. Yang.”

It was professional courtesy to address me by that title, though it didn’t feel right to me. I looked down to mask my discomfort. My feet dangled off of the examination table.

“Do you have a private practice?”

No, I said. I worked primarily with people who were homeless.

“Oh,” he said. “That’s even harder work.”

He asked me about my medical history, then my family history. He went through the major components of a physical exam.

He told me about his work as a primary care [...] continue the story

The Price of Life

Documentary about the rationing of high cost cancer drugs by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.

On a finite budget, the NHS cannot afford to offer every treatment on the market, so how is it decided which medications should be made available?

Adam Wishart follows the nail-biting decision about one drug, with unprecedented access to decision-makers the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, the patients who need a life-extending treatment, and the American company that discovered and will profit from it.

As the body that decides which pharmaceutical treatments the NHS can afford, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence wields enormous power over many patients in the UK.

Focusing on the cancer drug Revlimid, this eye-opening documentary, by director Adam Wishart, speaks to a senior member of the Institute and to those – such as cancer patients and NHS managers – who will be affected by its decisions.

The Doctor Becomes The Patient: Lessons Learned From Wearing A Gown

Physicians are terrible patients. That fact is one of the few absolutes in medicine. I can remember developing an acute appendicitis as a medical student. I remember the fear, the uncertainty and the discomfort. I can remember wanting someone who was in charge to spend a little time in my room explaining things to me. I can remember the embarrassment I felt when a group of 6 student nurses paraded into my room with a senior staff nurse in order to learn how to put in a foley catheter. As physicians, we are used to being the person in control in the healthcare setting. When the doctor becomes the patient, all perceived control is surrendered. No longer do we wear the “magic white coat” and wave healing hands over patients. Our daily intake and output is recorded. We are shipped all over the hospital for tests in unflattering, often risque attire. Once the transition to patient is made, there is no going back. Nothing ever seems the same.

One of the most well published experts in this area is Columbia University psychiatrist Dr Robert Kitzman. In a 2008 New York Times article, Dr Kitzman provides insight and discusses the implications of [...] continue the story

I Have Crohn’s Disease

Mike says:

‘Since being diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2007, I’ve pilgrimaged, like so many others, on that long road toward the Mecca of consistent bowel health. So far, I’ve found the way to be not-so-difficult. I’m fortunate. Good doctor, relatively mild case. Still, what a frustrating, inexplicable disease Crohn’s can be! Embarrassing, slapdash, specific in its unspecificity. And that the origins of Crohn’s remain a mystery (i.e. we know what it *is*, just not *why* it is), a mystery even as more and more people seem to be “coming down” with a case, can tend one toward paranoid conjecture. Is it the environment causing this? Modern practices in the processing, preservation and packaging of foodstuffs? A general national over-tendency toward neurotic sanitization (some germs are actually good for you, toughen you)?

Who can say? Doctors, I suppose.

I am not a doctor. I’m a 33-year-old man who would like not to have blood in his stool. To that end (pun!), this comic – a gloss on that initial diagnosis and the perplexing, discomfiting months leading up to it – was my way of wresting a smidge of control from a situation bigger and more powerful than me. Bigger and yet, perhaps poignantly, [...] continue the story

What can medical students learn from patient art?

Robert Pope, Dalhousie medical school’s first artist in residence, painted his journey with cancer. His work was displayed for medical students so that they could learn from what he went through and is now on exhibition for the public.

Ottawa Inner City Health – Saving An Artist From Creative Silence

Photography: Roger Lemoyne

When Dr. Jeff Turnbull found Normee Ekoomiak sleeping under a bridge, the author and textile artist was close to death. Now he’s back to wielding needle and thread and is well enough to leave a hospice program.

For more information on Ottawa Inner City Health:

Website: http://ottawainnercityhealth.ca/Home

Address: 5 Myrand Avenue, Ottawa, ON K1N 5N7

Phone: 613 562-4500 | Fax: 613 562-4505

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The Alexandra Community Health Centre

The Alex Community Health Centre in Calgary, Alberta, provides healthcare, counseling, food and community-building services to more than 6,000 people experiencing barriers to health, including many isolated seniors and parents raising children in poverty. They also operate a laundromat.

When they realized that many of their clients had to decide between buying food or doing laundry, they opened the Suds & Savings.

For more information on the Alex, including how to volunteer or donate:

Website:  http://www.thealex.ca/

Address: 1318 Centre St. NE Suite 101 Calgary, AB T2E 2R7

Phone: 403-266-2622

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