APPENDICITIS I + II: Monday August 25, 2014

I experienced appendicitis twice – which is physically impossible anatomically except in the case of attempting 2 routes of healing. My first choice was to be treated by an intravenous deluge of antibiotics, as it was presented? sold? to me as an effective alternative to an appendectomy, appealed to my greatest fear (the profound invasion and alteration of my body) and, I knew how to repair my constitution following this therapy. Upon recovery, I became consumed with the creation of a document dedicated to the improvement of the patient experience in the area of abdominal conditions and surgeries. Based on my letter, I was invited to present my exhaustive holistic document of RECOMMENDATIONS to select management of the 14th Floor.

Approximately 6 weeks later, I sat in a play and began to experience familiar pain. 19 hours later, I was surrounded by lights and stainless steel, counting down from 10.

There is, in fact, a 3rd route of healing in the facing, and living through, of one’s greatest fear.


Mr. Joseph LebovicMount Sinai HospitalJoseph and Wolf Lebovic Health Complex600 University AvenueToronto, ONM5G 1X5August 19, 2011


Dear Mr. Lebovic,

I wanted to tell you about my recent experience at Mount Sinai, having landed in an ambulance [...] continue the story

The Pear

By Andrea Shewchuk

What is care?

What is caring?

Who is the “care” in healthcare”?

What is the worth of a pear.

It’s Sunday September 30th, and in 6 days it will be one year since I found myself in the Emergency Room for the second time, afflicted with appendicitis (which I fondly refer to as “Appendicitis II”). Now, I am enjoying a day of knitting, yoga and quiet and, a pear.

This time I was in a cozy ER room within earshot and a good view of the nurses’ station. I had been at a play earlier that evening, ignoring the familiar pain, hoping it was just the play and the result of rushing through dinner.

The ER physician told me that the pain couldn’t be “that bad” because I refused the morphine. I told her that I practice yoga and am able my voice trails off as she leaves the room. She was replaced by 2 young male nurses. The trainee was instructed on the insertion of my IV (saline), at which he was unsuccessful many times. Though I am generally an assertive person, I was watching and weighing the consequences of voicing my concerns about the growing number of punctures on my arm vs. how they may be interpreted. I decided to ask [...] continue the story

The Orange Light or Room-mates

By Andrea Shewchuk

Almost 11 p.m.

We looked out of the 14th floor wall of windows at the orange CN Tower. The CN Tower was lit different colours to mark seasons or occasions. It was that time of an evening or that time anytime when something happens and all truth can be spoken and it’s safe. You just “know” that “time”. We had just come back from a walk around “the lap”. “The lap” was the obstacle course of gown and other disposal units, nurses’ trolleys and other walkers rather than safe passage for people with disconnected abdominal muscles and the impediment of an over-sized, shapeless, hopeless gown with malfunctioning closures to be managed concurrently with an IV in tow.

My room-mate was J. She had a gaping wound that ran several inches vertically from her chest down her abdomen. The doctors had left it open to “heal” after having worked on it in the afternoon. I wondered where I was. I thought of the movie Beautiful Dreamers.

J. had recovered from surgery to remove part of her colon because it was so damaged from one of the many possible syndromes, conditions and dis-eases that we have names for. And then a year later, she wasn’t feeling well and it was discovered that the [...] continue the story