Tag Archives: diagnosis

It could be bad

Paul Rousseau Charleston, South Carolina, United States Photo by Jira on Rawpixel.   The doctor poked and probed and prodded and pinched and rubbed his chin and clicked his pen and rose from his stool and breathed a groan, “Something is wrong, and it could be bad, is plausibly bad, is certainly bad, but not cancer […]

Parkinson’s

Glen P. Aylward  Springfield, Illinois, United States   In Parkinson’s, the colors express the emotional intensity and frustration experienced by those with Parkinson’s Disease, while the inflammation and anatomic components of the disease are also depicted by the shapes. I have experienced these emotions and symptoms since my diagnosis of PD 8 years ago. The […]

A jigsaw puzzle

Julia Nguyen Phoenix, Arizona, USA   (Photo credit to Geetika Gupta) Imagine yourself browsing the Entertainment section at the local store. Of all the sections you could possibly be in—Beauty, Grocery, Household, Pharmacy—here you are at the Entertainment section, looking for a jigsaw puzzle. There are so many choices: outdoor scenery or abstract? A 1,000-piece […]

“The GBM in Room 9”: on the objectifying power of naming and diagnosing

Atara Messinger Toronto, Ontario, Canada   French literary theorist and philosopher Maurice Blanchot (1907-2003) I wheeled the patient through the double doors into the operating room. As I parked the hospital bed next to the operating table, I quickly glanced at the patient’s chart. NAME: ‘J.’ AGE: 28. HISTORY: Progressive headaches, visual changes, and right-sided […]

Naming diseases

JMS Pearce Hull, United Kingdom          I tried to unveil the stillness of existence through a counteracting murmur of words, and, above all, I confused things with their names: that is belief. —Jean-Paul Sartre, The Words Disease implies the converse of health, but even health itself is difficult to define. With the gifts of […]

Joseph Bell, supreme diagnostician

The professor produced a vial filled with a bitter amber-colored liquid and asked the medical students to dip a finger in it and taste it, so he could determine how many of them had developed their powers of observation. The students grimaced but did as they were told, and the professor likewise dipped his finger […]

Quickly now, where does it hurt?

Chris Sumberg Clinton, Tennessee, United States   Samuel L. Clemens, 1909, George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress, Washington, DC In Life on the Mississippi, Mark Twain chronicled his difficult apprenticeship as a steamboat captain, relating his transition from simple observer who admires the beauty of the Mississippi River to designated protector of passengers and […]