Tag Archives: Paul Rousseau

The grieving one: on the death of a spouse

Paul Rousseau Charleston, South Carolina, United States   “A real experience of death isolates one absolutely. The bereaved cannot communicate with the unbereaved.” – Iris Murdoch, An Accidental Man, 1971   ‘Alone’ holds the word ‘one.’ Photo by Javier Ocampo Zuluaga on Pixabay. After the death of a spouse, we are al(one). ____ One pillow […]

Dream on

Paul Rousseau Charleston, South Carolina, United States   Footsteps in the forest. Photo by Nicholas D. on Flickr. CC BY-NC 2.0. Chart This is a 32-year-old female with widely metastatic breast cancer admitted to the hospital for control of shortness of breath and pain. ____ Melissa sits slumped, mouth open, snoring. I pull a chair […]

Miscarriage: a medical student in a rural clinic, Central America, 1977

Paul Rousseau Charleston, South Carolina, United States   A small town in Honduras. Photo by kristin klein on Flickr. CC BY 2.0. Elena sits perched on a gurney with claret-stained thighs. She has just miscarried in the clinic’s lavatory. She inquires of the gender of the fetus, and hands twitching and heart flapping, I blurt, […]

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 […]

Wedding anniversary

Paul Rousseau Charleston, South Carolina, United States Woman treating a patient in an intensive care unit. U.S. Government photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan M. Breeden. U.S. Navy Medicine on Rawpixel. Public domain.   Things fall apart; the center cannot hold…and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned… — W. B. Yeats, The […]

Flesh on flesh

Paul Rousseau Charleston, South Carolina, United States Holding hands. Photo by Jclk8888 on Pixabay. Via Wikimedia. Public domain.   There is a solace to flesh on flesh,   a laying on of the hands, a ritual of caring,  but now, in our distant worlds,  we hide in pixeled foxholes,  tap, tap, tapping on computers, tablets, and […]

“It would be like I never existed”: two minutes with manic psychosis, 1978

Paul Rousseau Charleston, South Carolina, United States   Foreword Photo by Isai Ramos on Unsplash Mental illness is often marginalized by non-psychiatric clinicians, yet it causes as much suffering, if not more, than physical illness. I was a medical student completing a rotation in psychiatry when I observed the encounter described here. The patient had […]

Two words in the patient portal

Paul Rousseau Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, United States   Photo by Anna Tarazevich from Pexels He lost twenty pounds from January to June. Not purposely. Still, he was pleased; at seventy-nine, he looked svelte, and younger. He lost another twelve pounds from July to December. His lips grimaced. He was a stick figure, his bones […]

Metastases

A CXR of a person with lung cancer causing superior vena cava syndrome. Photo by James Heilman, MD. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0. Paul Rousseau Charleston, South Carolina, United States   The fact Is they are there, gathered like a clutter of popcorn, some kernels, others fluffy white swirls, but they are there, bound to […]

Rural home visit 1973

Paul Rousseau Charleston, South Carolina, United States   The road frozen and snowflakes fluttering, I travel to a distant farmhouse—the sick in bed on her side, hair in sweat-wet crescents and vomitus on the sheets, the husband wailing, “She’s dying, she’s dying,” and a dog and three toddlers lapping milk from the linoleum—and as I […]