The C2S blog draws on the arts, the social and biological sciences to explore the many meanings of health and "dis-ease." Designed to be a locus where patients, their families and professionals can meet on a level playing field, it is the natural off-shoot of the Cell 2 Soul Online Journal. We encourage the submission of ideas, essays, poems, stories, humor, and timely reviews relating to the humanities and health care.
The infinite sky is motionless overhead and the restless water is boisterous. On the seashore of endless worlds the children meet with shouts and dances.
They build their houses with sand, and they play with empty shells. With withered leaves they weave their boats and smilingly float them on the vast deep. Children have their play on the seashore of worlds.
They know not how to swim, they know not how to cast nets. Pearl-fishers dive for pearls, merchants sail in their ships, while children gather pebbles and scatter them again. They seek not for hidden treasures, they know not how to cast nets.
The sea surges up with laughter, and pale gleams the smile of the sea-beach. Death-dealing waves sing meaningless ballads to the children, even like a mother while rocking her baby's cradle. The sea plays with children, and pale gleams the smile of the sea-beach.
On the seashore of endless worlds children meet. Tempest roams in the pathless sky, ships are wrecked in the trackless water, death is abroad and children play. On the seashore of endless worlds is the great meeting of children.
ONE morning I was at a support group for patients who had survived a critical illness and their family members. It seems simple — a few doctors, a social worker, a psychiatrist, former patients and their husbands and wives, a conference room, pastries, coffee.
As many as one in three patients sick enough to require a ventilator might develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Anxiety and depression are equally common, if not more so. The name for the constellation of symptoms often experienced by survivors of critical illness — post-intensive care syndrome.
As I.C.U. doctors, we can learn from our patients and their families and they can learn from one another, simply by sitting in a room together and paying attention to what unfolds. [Holds true for all health care professionals]
"The trouble with a free-market approach is that health care is an immensely complicated and expensive industry, in which the individual rarely has much actual market power.
The point of universal coverage is to pool risk, for the maximum benefit of the individual when he or she needs care. And the point of having the government manage this complicated service is not to take freedom away from the individual. The point is the opposite: to give people more freedom.
I wish we were free to assume that our doctors get paid a salary to look after our best interests, not to profit by generating billable tests and procedures."
Excerpts from an amazing op-ed in the NY Times. It pretty well says it all in a pleasant "nordic" way.
Comments from Ling Poliandro, Mandarin medical interpreter: Thank you also for forwarding this heartfelt article.While we often were made known of the appreciation of our work, the author strikes me as exceptionally respectful and sensitive. I often thought of becoming an onsite interpreter in the hospitals to be 'most' helpful but I realize the advantages of working at home over the phone far outweigh any in person situation at this time of my life as I can log in and out anytime when I need to, which I've used a few times after some very difficult encounters.
“The sooner we start talking about death, the better.”
Have your taken Death Ed?
In this lucid Op-Ed piece, Dr. Jessica Nitter makes a compelling case for a new compulsory course for high school students. It is well worth reading.
"Many of us would choose to die in a planned, comfortable way, surrounded by those we love. But you can’t plan for a good death if you don’t know you’re dying. When patients are prepared, they die better.
I believe it is past time for us to educate [our patients] about death, an equally important stage of life, and one for which the consequences of poor preparedness are bad.
I propose that we teach Death Ed in all of our high schools. I see this curriculum as a civic responsibility."
Lagniappe: “Go Wish,” a card game designed to ease families into these difficult conversations in an entertaining way.
and Extremis (2016, Netflix Documentary, 24 minutes)
Setsuko Winchester is a Japanese-American potter who threw 120 yellow bowls to commemorate Japanese interned by the U.S. during World War II. The story is timely, since a similar spirit of xenophobia is gripping our country in the first few weeks of the Trump (dis)administration.
Each yellow bowl stands for 1000 Japanese interned. She explains her motivation in a three minute video. An in-depth article about Setsuko's yellow bowls appeared in the Berkshire Eagle on February 12, 2017. "Ceramics are part of your blood when you are Japanese," S. Winchester
Yellow tea bowls at the Poston War Relocation Center, located in Yuma County of southwestern Arizona. photo by Setsuko Winchester
Comment by Joan Shaw, Educator, Kalaheo, Hawaii: "This project is a poignant reminder of how easily and inappropriately groups of people can be maligned by the ignorance of others. When you look at the contributions of Japanese Americans over the years, it's hard to understand that they were once regarded as dangerous spies and traitors - to the point of being rounded up and interned. This is happening now with groups from other parts of the world. An excellent novel: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford."
Hans Rosling, a Swedish physician became a pop-star statistician by converting dry numbers into dynamic graphics that challenged preconceptions about global health and gloomy prospects for population growth. He died on February 7th at 68 of pancreatic cancer.
The topic of Global Health and Social Determinants of Health has interested us greatly. It is covered in detail in Michael Marmot’s dense book, The Health Gap (that few will wade into). Rosling’s work makes this information palatable and easily understandable.
Rosling, his wife and daughter founded Gapminder, an independent Swedish foundation with no political, religious or economic affiliations in 2007. Gapminder is a fact tank, not a think tank. It fights devastating misconceptions about global development.
Last summer, a friend and I made pilgrimage to the home and birthplace of Emily Dickinson in Amherst, Massachusetts. Our guide was an enthusiastic young woman, a college English major and a future scholar.
A recent exhibit, at the Morgan Library and Museum in New York, would be a great place to begin with Emily if you live nearby or plan to visit the City.
I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!
How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!
In 1990 Jacek Mostwin, a young surgeon working in a large university hospital, began to sense there was a deeper, more timeless, meaning to his work and the lives of his patients. There was a spiritual dimension to medicine and he needed to be closer to it. He began to follow some of his patients to the shrine at Lourdes in France.
Dr. Mostwin has been traveling to Lourdes with the Order of Malta as a volunteer physician and has returned 17 times since his first pilgrimage in 1992. In 2004, he completed a film, Engaging the Spiritual Dimension: A Doctor’s Tale It is his attempt to show the human side of this experience, his own, and that of others, engaging the spiritual dimension. The mystery of Lourdes is timeless. It has given rise to many stories. This is one story, a doctor’s tale.
Marion Pritchard, a gentile whose shock at watching Nazi soldiers storm a home for Jewish children in Amsterdam and load them into a truck for deportation inspired her to enter a clandestine world of rescuing Jews, died on Dec. 11, 2016 at her home in Washington, DC. She was 96.
Please read her moving NY Times obituary. It's inspiring to be reminded of true heroism. This woman's brave and quiet work is a candle in the dark.