We tell ourselves many things about our health each day, every day, all day long. The vast majority are unintentional, uninspired and blunt. A particularly sinful dessert brings admonishment, “You should not have eaten that.” Panting after two flights of stairs call for an exasperated, “I am out of shape!” Receiving a diagnosis prompts mental overdrive of “What if I don’t survive this?” thoughts. Learning my diagnosis of chronic kidney disease ...

Read more...

16 questions to ask when choosing a hospice Hospice is a set of services that we all may need someday -- if not for ourselves, for our parents. While death is not an option for any of us, we do have choices about the services we use at the end of life. Hospice is undoubtedly the best option in the last months of life because it offers a whole ...

Read more...

My second miscarriage started in a Starbucks bathroom, and I couldn’t have felt more alone. Where to go from there? I drove home, took as much ibuprofen as I could stomach, and resolved to quit my stressful teaching job. I found a new position at a nonprofit, training writers to teach in public schools. My husband, who’d always been an entrepreneur, continued to lead a startup that encouraged girls to dream ...

Read more...

I know the ropes at the VA ... I'll pick up the phone in a heartbeat and call my senator and get what I need right away. A lot of guys aren't like that. –Max Gruzen, PTSD patient, Vietnam veteran from the New York Times So this is what it means to be an "engaged" patient in the VA system today. You have to know a senator who will intervene on your ...

Read more...

Next in a series. What are some of the characteristics of healers? They listen and do so nonjudgmentally. They respond on the patient’s terms. They are humble. They are truthful. The healer communicates on the patient’s (and family’s) own terms. The healer always explains his or her reasoning. The healer tries to diminish the information gap. Despite all of medicine’s sophisticated technology and providers’ skills, the patient still needs the doctor ...

Read more...

Feminism is the radical notion that women are people. - Marie Shear Recent speaking clients know that I often note the parallels between the patient movement and other cultural revolutions: the women’s movements, civil rights, gay rights, disability rights. (I mention disability issues less often, but it was disability advocate Ed Roberts who said in the 1990s, after years of struggle: “When someone else speaks for you, you lose.”) As anyone who’s heard me ...

Read more...

When my son Ben was 20-years-old, he was finally diagnosed with schizophrenia after five years of chaos and frustration -- what I later came to know had been symptoms of the gradual onset of his illness. At the time, I’d thought he was just having a tough adolescence. I’d thought perhaps he needed more father figures (Ben’s father had deserted the family when Ben and his sister were little, and ...

Read more...

Recently I had dinner with a friend of mine who, decades ago, had sat on my doctoral dissertation committee. At one point we touched on my dissertation, which covered the health issues of Baltimore's homeless teens. "You always had an uncanny connection with homeless kids," my friend said. "You really understood them." I gazed out the window, seeing the homeless people with their shopping carts in the park across the street. Then I ...

Read more...

Remember the fathers of sick children When I was a little girl, my dad was my hero. He was strong and brave, and it only took his presence to make me feel safe and secure. I thought he understood everything there was to know in the world. I believed he could solve any problem, slay any dragon, protect me from all harm. That’s the best thing about dads, ...

Read more...

Dr. Robert's office felt right to me, with a musical birdsong soundtrack, soft lighting and fresh green tea, and I had my best friend in tow: piece of cake. In this serene atmosphere, I was sure that I'd find out what to do next to finish treating my endometrial cancer. "It's probably gone now, since my hysterectomy two weeks back," I thought. "But let's play it safe; he's the gynecological-cancer guru." Like ...

Read more...

Most Popular