Tag Archives: alcoholic cirrhosis

“Moonlight” and silence

Anne Jacobson Oak Park, Illinois, United States   Woman at the Piano. 1875/76. Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The Art Institute of Chicago. At seventeen, I knew little about the limitations or losses that might cause a person to second-guess a vocation, deeply held belief, or identity. Perhaps those questions about the unknowable future inhabit the soul of […]

The door to recovery

Irene Aluen Metzner Glenn Youngkrantz Chicago, Illinois, USA   Stories about addiction are often filled with despair, but they don’t have to be: this is a true story in two parts. The first is the perspective of a patient, and the second that of his doctor, as they chose to be hopeful.   Part I The Two Doorways. James McNeill Whistler. 1879/80. The […]

An act of cowardice

Michael Shen Indianapolis, Indiana, USA   Charon carries souls across the river Styx. Alexander Dmitrievich Litovchenko. 1861. Russian Museum, St. Petersburg. In autumn, the leaves turn yellow and die. The cirrhotics in the unit do the same. Their path already charted, their lives like leaves in the wind, we carried them as long as we […]

Psychological preparation for war: early life experiences

Jack Riggs Morgantown, West Virginia, USA   A casualty from an outside location carried to a helicopter for transport to US Military Hospital Kuwait in 2005 I suspect that few early life experiences fully prepare one psychologically for the realities of war. Mine certainly did not. However, my introduction to post-traumatic stress and moral injury, […]

Illness shapes the course of human events

K. N. Lai Hong Kong, China   Liu Bei, the founding emperor of the state of Shu-Han, 7th century. The revered leader may have had Marfan syndrome. These items, part of the Gerald Chow Memorial Lecture delivered to the Hong Kong College of Physicians, illustrate the many connections between medicine and the humanities, as well as exemplifying how […]