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.
"On a cloudless Sunday afternoon in April, a 100-year-old woman named Ida Keeling laced up her mustard yellow sneakers and took to the track at the Fieldston School in the Bronx. Her arrival was met without fanfare. In fact, no one in the stands seemed to notice her at all."
This is a fine piece about healthy aging. Ms. Keeling is an outlier; but it is important to study (and celebrate) the lives of exceptional people. If you click on the article, don’t skip the one minute video!
Although geriatricians and researchers have warned for years about the potential hazards of polypharmacy, usually defined as taking five or more drugs concurrently; it continues to rise in all age groups, and has reached disturbingly high levels among older adults. A recent study showed that 39% of people over age 65 in the U.S. take 5 or more different prescription medications a day (not yo mention other over-the-counter meds and supplements).
This is a concise, lucid and useful article by one of the Times best health reporters. It might pay to read it and remember its warnings.
Early Thursday morning May first I closed the circle with my father Of whom I am from
Honored to help Leo’s spirit Free From his well worn body 92 frail skin and bone Yet still strong and courageous
Bedridden for two months He remained a stand up guy Offering grace and humor
Ethan visited with Leo Understanding accepting Sharing open hearts Leo barely able to speak Offered Ethan advise Grandfather to grandson About the son: “Don’t listen to him”
Leo enjoyed life long luck He transitioned at home His wish and my promise We together the seven days Of leaving his body behind
Hospice provided help Amazing nurses aiding insight Meds and visits as needed Combined with compassionate care From Leo’s wonderful home health aides Mark and GiGi who gave generously Of their Warm Haitian Creole hearts
Leo walked through the only door open Clearly and consciously seeking he stopped eating We were together throughout this seven day journey To his well deserved long sought release
Leaving one's body is no small task We dressed Leo casual for comfort Who could he still possibly need to impress?
Much to appreciate life’s life lessons Fortunate to be born a son of Leo Generous non-judging supportive father Ever happy he set himself free
Sam Berns, a Massachusetts high school junior whose life with the illness progeria was the subject of a recent documentary film, died on Friday, January 10, 2014 in Boston, age 17.
The full length documentary, Life According to Sam, has been produced by HBO and should be available on NetFlix one of these days. “What is aging in Sam Berns, is aging in all of us. But in Sam’s body, the process is rapidly accelerated." For more on the documentary, see MedFlix.
[In] minutes my world crashed around me. My husband had
a seizure while picking our daughter up from daycare... He was diagnosed with an
incurable brain tumour. My husband is going to die young. We are not going to grow
old together. The moment of diagnosis was the saddest and darkest time of my
life. Not where I expected to be at 32. Why?
Download Wilk Barankin
2.The Joy of Old Age (No kidding)by Oliver Sacks Eighty! I can hardly believe it. I often feel that life is about to begin, only to realize it is almost over. I feel glad to be alive — “I’m glad I’m not dead!” sometimes bursts out
of me when the weather is perfect. (This is in contrast to a story I
heard from a friend who, walking with Samuel Beckett in Paris on a
perfect spring morning, said to him, “Doesn’t a day like this make you
glad to be alive?” to which Beckett answered, “I wouldn’t go as far as
Download Sacks 80
Author Bio: Frank Meyskens, Jr., Director, Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center,
University of California Irvine writes: “Aging is a surprising process. Over 50% of people over age 70
have functionally meaningfull hearing loss.
This loss marks one as frail. Whether or not one is, reading lips only
goes so far. One of the most joyous days of my life was the day after I
acquired my new super-duper hearing aid and opened my front door and heard the
morning cacophony of birdsongs. After a
year of silence, I felt alive
If you are fortunate enough to live in or near The Village Bautiful, you will enjoy the free film series at the Milne Library starting on Thursday, April 11, 2013.
Hosted by Dr. Mel Krant the syllabus covers: Week 1 Immortality. Clips from 'Close Encounters of 3rd Kind' and
'Cacoon' Week 2 Aging in the traditional world. 'Ballad of Marayama' Week
3 Dementia. 'On Golden Pond', and 'Iris' Week 4 Transplants. 'Dirty.
Pretty Things' Week 5 Physician-Assisted suicide. Documentary on
Walking on tree trunks, pounding the wooden walkway until it shrieks, a pair of senior ladies discuss ways to improve
their health, where to buy a good tomato and evening dinner plans. Behind them, walking on sticks, two men, slim with cardiac concern, worry about taxes and the hurricane season and
argue about which liquid establishment makes the best dirty
A bit farther back, an elderly couple turtles along helping
each other, old bones groaning, take one sad step at a time while planning still another European trip and believing they will not pass from this orb with plans made and the trip not
Ahead on a bench, pocket full of bottled pills, soft
cervical-collared-me watches the parade of fears and denials snake through the morning on the wooden walkway. I greet them with empathic smiles and waves knowing I but see myself.
II. James and Jude*
James and Jude, sadly gone of a sudden Sunday. Crash. A lovely leaving as one, father and son. Still, in this world of raging roulette we who remain ever long for their ghosts.
Ah, but Heaven shall wipe away all tears when we meet again, soul to soul, somewhere somewhere out there in Rumi’s field.
III. Bench Talk
the bench where he had been sitting with the Live Oak late in the afternoon she
took a seat. He nodded kindly. She began to talk: of the exquisite texture of
the Magnolia blossom; of the Spanish Moss above their heads; of the lump in her
breast, the biopsy and the waiting for the doctor’s verdict; of She-Crab Soup
and her son’s close call at Virginia Tech where the mass killings had taken
place; of how lovely the sun felt on her skin this day; of two marriages, now
history, and her fear of another relationship.
soft, soft eyes he answered each pain and with twinkling eyes each veneer of
pleasure. She continued to speak going backwards in her memory: her first love,
who loved her not; an unexpected pregnancy and how she disposed of it. To their
left a Snowy Egret landed to fish at the edge of the lagoon. She pointed and
commented on its white perfection. He nodded kindly. The Egret swallowed and
she did likewise as she told of her daughter’s passing from a brain tumor
before her twentieth year. Again he smiled kindly and knowingly. There were
other things to tell and she told them, her story punctuated by the singing of
birds, the wind in the trees, his smile and the ever-so-gentle nodding of his
she had told it all she took a very deep breath and, for the first time, looked
him straight in the eye. “It's been a long, long, hot summer”, she sighed.
“Yes”, he smiled. And now, her burdens reduced at last, she thought as she
left: “that man is a brilliant conversationalist.”
Author Bio: Frank Cavano is a retired psychiatrist who writes because
it is an enjoyable experience and, often, a healing one as well. His poems and
other writings are often of a spiritual/inspirational/metaphysical nature. He
tries to be a faithful, empathic observer of the human condition in all his
* James was my wife's nephew and Jude his son. They
went out for ice cream on a Sunday about three years ago and were killed in an
automobile accident. Imagine.
“If I could give one night back to you,” she asked, “which one would it be?” “Are you my wife?” he replied. “Yes,” she stated. “I'm Louise.” “Then it would have to be that night in 1938 when I was stationed at Ft. Crockett in Galveston. The night at Mennard Park where we had all those dances."
Bio:Sue Mayfield Geiger writes and edits for regional and national publications, and lives on the Texas Gulf Coast. Her first book of prose and verse (with photos) is now available. www.gibbonsstreet.com. You can email comments to her at: SMG