Tag Archives: diagnosis

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 […]

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 […]