Tag Archives: ICU

Being our best selves: hidden in full view

James Stoller Peter Rea Alan Kolp Cleveland, Ohio, United States   Figure 1. Pillars and pediment We live in a paradox framed by a tension between age-old wisdom about excellence and our current state. The paradox is this: our behaviors and our priorities are often at odds with age-old truths about how we can be […]

Navigating the waters of post-COVID survivorship

Denise Bockwoldt Chicago, Illinois, United States   Photo by Josh Sorenson on Unsplash. On the TV news, COVID survivors are being rolled out of the hospital in wheelchairs, applauded and cheered on by a crowd of hospital staff. “They’ve recovered!” the reporter announces happily. It is a hopeful sign for everyone who fears this virus, […]

Gymnopédie

Mark Tan Northwest Deanery, UK   First phrase of Gymnopédie. Erik Satie, 1888. Gymnopédie No. 1. Public domain Oblique et coupant l’ombre un torrent éclatant Ruisselait en flots d’or sur la dalle polie Où les atomes d’ambre au feu se miroitant Mêlaient leur sarabande à la gymnopédie [English translation]: Slanting and shadow-cutting a bursting stream […]

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 […]

Snakes and ladders

Shampa Sinha Sydney, Australia   Life in the ICU is like a game of Snakes and Ladders. Illustration by Dr. Tirthankar Dutta “Can you tell me where you are, Mr. Pemberton?” I would ask the middle-aged man every morning as he was recovering from abdominal surgery. “Oh, I’m in New York,” he would answer with […]

Latricia

Kristin Adams Forner Ohio, USA   We were running. The stampede of our wooden clogs beat the linoleum that lined the hallway from the operating rooms to the intensive care units. The metal contents of our pockets clanged each time our feet hit the ground. Latricia’s monitors relentlessly announced the status of her dying organs, […]

Auscultation

Daly Walker Boca Grande, Florida, United States Arterial Nests, 2009 (detail) Michelle Frick, New York Cast silicone, intravenous line, ceramic, 30 x 18” silkscreen lightbox, sound   In the hospital’s x-ray department, Dad and I entered a small room with a wall of lighted boxes. A man with dyed reddish hair sat, sipping at a […]

December Fall

James O. Ballard Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA Poet’s statement: Those of us who care for patients at the end of life realize the importance of closure (i.e., the settling of unfinished business, misunderstandings, and disputes between patients and their families and friends before death). This poem begins and ends with images of an early December day […]