"I don't just read Pulse, I adore it." --Donald Berwick MD
Heaven and Earth
It's two months into my second year of medical school, and I'm at the clinic, preparing to shadow Dr. Neiland, a primary-care physician.
I didn't want to come here this morning.
Yesterday, one of my preceptors decided that it was my turn to be "pimped." Pimping, in medical education, is when the preceptor asks you questions until you get one wrong. Then he asks more questions, highlighting your ignorance. Theoretically, this ensures that once he tells you the correct answer, you'll never forget it. This works for some students, but not for me. I get defensive, and the right answer, whatever it is, goes in one ear and out the other.
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 I stood waiting for an elevator, a quadriplegic soldier maneuvered his electric wheelchair alongside me.
When the doors opened, he looked up and said, "After you, sir." That's not a memory that fades.
He marked a copy of da Vinci's sketch
To map his ailments: drew an arrow from
The eye to cataracts, the feet nerve pain.
The groin said hernia, the navel at
The center of it all colostomy.
He offers up this artifact to his
New doctor: fills the outline with a tale
Of his true flesh unique in variance
From all ideal cosmographies of man.
a treasury of compelling stories and poems.
Includes The Resilient Heart , Babel: The Voices of a Medical Trauma and Confessions of a Seventy-Five-Year-Old Drug Addict. Foreword by Maureen Bisognano, President of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
Click to read more or to purchase.