Tag Archives: family

Munchausen by Proxy

Charles Halsted Davis, California, United States   My last patient of the morning was a teenage girl, just turned eighteen. She walked in slowly, her face in agony, apprehensive. Her mother said the pain had begun at age twelve, about when she started to menstruate, yet it never let up, periods or not. Refusing food, […]

Lucid interval

Emma Manuel Eshwar Rajesh Chennai, India   Clutches of Cannabis. Photo by Marlon Lara on Unsplash Even during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, some people like me were silently grateful for the opportunity to spend some time with their family. Born as a single child whose parents got frequent transfers, I had lived with […]

The deer trail

Henri Colt Laguna Beach, California, United States   Photo by Kevin Mueller on Unsplash “Ezra, get up! It’s a beautiful morning, and you’re sixteen today!” I playfully shook my son’s shoulder. “It’s six o’clock, Dad, what are you doing?” He buried his head under his pillow and slid under the covers. “We’re going hiking, remember?” […]

All too human: the mountain gorillas of Uganda

James Franklin Chicago, Illinois, United States   Fig. 1. Adult female mountain gorilla   The Ugandan mountain gorilla is a member of the Hominidae family, also known as the great Apes. The extant species include: the orangutan, the eastern and western gorilla, the chimpanzee, the bonobo, and ourselves, Homo sapiens. The mountain gorilla is one […]

What she sees

Michelle M. Kittleson Los Angeles, California, United States   From Openclipart. Public Domain. I know she does not believe me, Why won’t you save my son? Why won’t you see what I see?   Her firstborn; calm and chubby; Why can’t he walk? He’s one. Why won’t you see what I see?   Genetic tests […]

The names of things

Joseph Hodapp Cupertino, California, USA   The author’s grandparents. Photo by Laura Hodapp. It’s a gray-sky, late-October afternoon. I just got home from work when I feel my phone buzz in my pocket. The caller ID provides a brief preface: Mom. “Hey Mom, what’s up?” “Hey Hun, I wanted to call you right away… my […]

A house call

Martin Duke Mystic, Connecticut, United States   A doctor visiting a sick woman, and taking her pulse. Many years ago, in the mid 1980s, when I was still in clinical practice, I made a house call accompanied by a second year medical student who was coming to my office one day a week as part […]

How to save a life

Sam Campbell Moh’D Ibrahim Johnson City, Tennessee, United States   “We had been happy together, though it took years to convince her family to allow us to marry.” My wife is in Texas, threatening to file divorce papers. I am here, 996 miles away, trying to find Mrs. Smith who has wandered out of her […]

Rethinking the impulse to empathize: A sister’s perspective on sympathy and stigma

Jeanne Farnan Pennsylvania, United States   Mary Cassatt, Mother Combing Sara’s Hair, 1901. Private collection. Web Gallery of Impressionism “I am so sorry.”  My youngest sister, Annie, was born during the spring semester of my first year of high school. These four words are etched into my memory, integrally intertwined with the events of that […]

La Pieta

Rachel Fleishman Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States   La Pieta, 1498-1499, Michelangelo, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City. Wikipedia A mother holds her dead child. His body flops open without resistance, freshly dead. His head is cocked back, shoulder lifted, arms release the last vestige of grip. Her face sullen, her hand beside him open and offering, […]