Tag Archives: Cancer

here

Slavena Salve Nissan New York, New York, United States   “with her grandfather in the lobby of the cancer building“ this is the third time this week a baby girl in a pink hat with her grandfather in the lobby of the cancer building me at the table next to them tuna sandwich unwrapped but […]

Margaret Edson’s W;t: lessons on person-centered care

Atara Messinger Toronto, Ontario, Canada     “She slips off her bracelet. She loosens the ties and the top gown slides to the floor.” American playwright Margaret Edson’s 1998 play W;t has been described as “ninety minutes of suffering and death mitigated by a pelvic exam and a lecture on seventeenth-century poetry.”1 When W;t was […]

Shaking hands

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece     Alonissos Island, the Aegean, Greece There is a fine but clearly visible tremor in the pale, smooth, well-groomed hands of my visitor. He makes an effort to keep his face still and composed, lips forcedly stiff, eyes unsmiling, the whole look somber. “I have had a new scan,” he […]

Not by blood

Simon Edber Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States     Child Seated on a Sofa (1883) by Mary Cassatt National Gallery of Art, Ailsa Mellon Bruce Collection Raven knows exactly how she joined the family: “She didn’t want me so she took me to the hospital, and then you came and bought me from the hospital.” Well, almost […]

Aspects of distancing

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Corfu Island, Greece. Author Photo. I will call him Bill. We had been unaware of each other’s existence until we first met as elected members of a professional committee in our local medical association. In this capacity we had been working together for several years, convening every two or three months […]

Poppy power

John Graham-Pole Gainesville, Florida, United States   Dr. Graham-Pole with cancer patient, Bridget. At the time of the photo, Bridget had life-threatening cancer requiring opioids, and is now a successful artist. Author photo. The poppy’s juice . . .brings the sleep to dear Mama — Sara Coleridge, Pretty Lessons in Verse for Good Children   In […]

Surrealist art and the resolution of absurd

Simon Wein Petach Tikvah, Israel   Epigram “There must be a clear preoccupation with death—intimations of mortality . . . Tragic art, romantic art, etc., deals with the knowledge of death.” Mark Rothko, 1958, The Pratt Institute, on the function of art   The Problem Fear of death permeates medical practice despite our best efforts […]

Unfinished business: end of life care and regrets in the films of Akira Kurosawa

X.M. Griffiths Tuckahoe, NY, USA   Director Akira Kurosawa (center) with actors Takashi and Miki Odagiri on the set of Ikiru (1952). Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library. Death and mortality were recurrent themes in Akira Kurosawa’s works but the director examined the issues most acutely in the films Ikiru (1952) and […]

The free diaper delivery and chat service

Jean Mathews Canada    Kisthamma at her front door holding on to the adult diapers (Picture taken by author with permission from patient) It surprised me that she could laugh. How could a person who was constantly leaking urine laugh? All her sarees and her tiny room smelled of urine. The smell was stubborn and […]

Uncertainty and clinical truths

Anjan Banerjee Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom   “Medicine is a science of uncertainty and an art of probability” (William Osler)   Monday 15:35 pm Franciso Goya. Self-Portrait with Dr. Arrieta, 1820. The ninety-eight year old patient with piercing blue eyes and a quizzical expression sat in her wheelchair in the colorectal clinic. We sat facing each […]