Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: aging

  • Book review: Why We Die: The New Science of Ageing and the Quest for Immortality

    Arpan K. BanerjeeSolihull, England The subjects of ageing, death, and immortality have long preoccupied human thoughts and culture. The ancient Egyptians practiced mummification out of a belief in an afterlife. Buddhists and Hindus believe in reincarnation with the immortal soul living on in another body. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam also have rites and rituals that…

  • The anorexia of aging

    Alexandra MignucciAlbany, New York, United States While working at a medical home for patients with Alzheimer’s, I became fascinated by the difference in how much food the patients would eat when sitting at the table as a group versus when I would feed them in their rooms or on the couch. There was no difference…

  • The loneliness of the long-living doctor

    Peter Arnold Sydney, Australia A noticeable phenomenon of the twenty-first century is the increasing frequency of friendships between older men. The importance of such friendships to both mental and physical health has been well documented.1,2,3 This issue has particular relevance to older male doctors, especially in the UK, where doctors tend to retire early.4 Many…

  • Goals of care

    Leah Grant Portland, Oregon It was the beginning of my intern year and I felt like an impostor. Facing new responsibilities in both the hospital and clinic, I was aware of my lack of experience when patients asked for my medical opinion. But as I began to see the same patients again and again in the…

  • No complaints, only symptoms

    Peter Arnold Sydney, Australia “No complaints, only symptoms,” I told my cardiologist this year. How dare I complain? I am eighty-four. Thirty-two years have passed since my quintuple coronary artery bypass; eighteen years since a diagnosis, in one of eleven biopsy samples, of invasive prostate cancer—left untreated, because so few of us die from it; five…

  • Gulliver at Luggnagg — Learning about the immortal struldbrugs (abridged)

    The Luggnaggians are a polite and generous people . . . they show themselves courteous to strangers. One day . . . I was asked by a person of quality, “whether I had seen any of their struldbrugs, or immortals?” . . . He told me “that sometimes, though very rarely, a child happened to…

  • Rehearsing lines

    Catalina Florina Florescu Hoboken, New Jersey, United States   Coffee Queen. Iulia Şchiopu. Permission granted by artist. CHARACTERS: Eve Ana TIME AND SETTING: Now, here. Two women are seated on a bench. That’s all you need to know. Plus that their name is a palindrome. Mirrored names. Make what you want out of this.  …

  • The African Savannah

    Steve Ablon Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts   Photo by Steve Ablon Forty years ago, my father wore his safari hat, squinted through binoculars, told us those giraffes, the dark ones, are older,   and soon will not be able to outrun lions or will break a leg, be eaten. That is the cycle of life he…

  • Me, my father, and the angels

    Hope Atlas Livingston, New Jersey, United States   I’m Home by Jeniffer Guilherme. November 2019. Published with artist’s permission. The handle of the dresser drawer talks to my father while he sits in bed Whenever he likes he can conjure up the face of the dresser drawer with its pointy ears, droopy mouth and metal…

  • Forever young: The history and promise of young blood therapeutics

    Kelly ChenBirmingham, Alabama, United States Two mice waddle in unison. They eat together, drink together, and nest together. Their closeness is no act of nature—for on closer inspection a delicate line of sutures is seen connecting them from forelimb to hindlimb. They are linked by parabiosis, the surgical joining of two organisms. Parabiosis was first…