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.
she misses bicycling, on the boardwalk, the salt air renewing, her hope of a perfect love, constant as the returning tide.
In Memory of Marsha Abrams, who bore the weight of MS with dignity and grace and brought warmth and love to her friends.
(Photo from Amaze Art Gallery)
Whitman at Last
The IV drips, drips as I read, Leaves of Grass, reclining on a plastic chair, under a frayed blanket, soft as a baby's touch.
Here on a street of rocks and stones, illness lies, a detour between life and death, where we become like Whitman, all of the same flesh, one with earth, sea, sky.
The poet, Shirley Adelman, is a mother of two, grandmother of three, a breast cancer survivor, a former college teacher, and a writer of poetry and prose. Her work has been published in academic, literary, and medical humanities journals in the United States, Canada, South Africa, and Israel. Most recently her work appeared in Jewish Currents, Blue Collar Review, and Kaleidoscope.
7.4.2015: Michiko Kakutai’s essay on the eulogy Obama delivered in Charleston on Friday June 26, 2015 is a moving and informative discussion of the speech and the week it was delivered in. He writes, “it [the speech] was the capstone to a dizzying and momentous week in which Southern politicians began calling for a renunciation of the Confederate battle flag, while the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act and found that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriages.
It was a week in which a lot of Americans felt they were actually watching the arc of history bend in front of their eyes*, and it was a eulogy that both spoke to the moment and connected that moment to the past and the future of what Mr. Obama calls the great “American experiment.”
* This quote originated with the 19th Century abolitionist, Theodore Parker (NPR segment). "I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice." A century later, Martin Luther King, Jr. paraphrased these words to great effect in his famous "Where Do We Go From Here?" speech of August 1967 to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, when he said, "The arc of the Moral Universe Is long, but It bends toward Justice".
I am Millie Niss's mother, and it's a privilege to write a few words about my daughter's life and work for Cell 2 Soul. Like so many people whose lives are marked with chronic illness, Millie endured as long as she did because she was a fighter. She was intolerant of incompetence in medical personnel, family members or friends, because she knew that their mistakes could cost her her life. At the same time, she had the gift of generous concern for and interest in others that allowed her to make respectful connections even when she had been harmed. In her final hospitalization, she was certain she'd suffered a vertebral fracture during a sheet change. (She was correct.) Intubated, she wrote to her nurse: “I am not even blaming people for injuring me as I have osteoporosis but at least believe me that I have been injured.”
Millie was one of the best-educated people I have ever known. English/French bilingual, she held an honors baccalaureate in physics and math from a French lycee along with her honors BA in Math from Columbia University where she also studied as much poetry as she could and taught GED courses to Columbia employees so they could improve their lives.
I have selected three texts from Millie's poetry collection (City Bird, Blazevox, 2010) which I believe show Millie's tenderness for human suffering, her appetite for literature, and her attitude toward her own health care.
Bio: Martha Deed, PhD is a retired
psychologist, poet recipient of two Pushcart nominations, and a member of
Consumer Union's Safe Patient Project patient safety advocate network. She
edited City Bird: Selected Poems (1991-2009) by Millie Niss (BlazeVox, 2010)
and wrote The Last Collaboration (Furtherfield, 2012). Both books are
available through Amazon. Her website: www.sporkworld.org/Deed and blog: sporkworld.tumblr.com. You may email her at: M_Deed.
Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife, Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray; Along the cool sequester'd vale of life They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
Clayton W. Nesbit, M.D. (1938)
Born: 10/15/10, Pittsfield, MA Graduated Pittsfield High School, first in class, 1928 Graduated Williams College, Phi Beta Kappa, 1932 M.D. Harvard Medical School, 1936; Internship Albany Hospital 1936-37;Residency St. Luke’s Hospital, Pittsfield, MA, 1937-38 Marriage to Marion Bastow, July 2, 1938 City Physician, Pittsfield, MA 1938-1942 U.S. Navy, Active Duty, 1942-1946 General Practitioner in Pittsfield, MA 1946-1965 Incapacitating Stroke: August, 1965 Death: April 6, 1982
"My father was the kind of doctor about whom people today often reminisce wistfully, an old fashioned family doctor in all the best senses of this phrase." Read Jennifer Shapp's moving tribute to her father: Download My father Clayton Nesbit