It's tempting to blame it all on Henry Ford.  I was standing alone at the empty counter, waiting to order in a fast food joint at 9 p.m.  Off to my left, three or four carloads of customers had been served before anyone noticed me and came over to ask what I wanted.  After all, Henry gave us the mass-produced (and therefor affordable) automobile.  I wondered if the day ...

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On my voice mail is a message from Donald Wyatt. He doesn't often call, but every Monday morning he comes to see me at the Louisville, Kentucky, mental health clinic where I'm a social worker. His message is brief: "I'm not feeling well, and I am planning a trip to either St. Louis or Elizabethtown." I smile, wondering at the odd pairing. Elizabethtown is a small city of 50,000 people. And, well, ...

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My family and close friends have done so much for me since I became chronically ill in 2001, and I’m deeply grateful to them. I’ve written this piece because there are a few important things I want them to know about how I feel. Although this piece is personal in nature, I’ve been hanging out online for over a dozen years with other people who are chronically ill (which includes those ...

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shutterstock_131122526 She is a time traveler. She spends an hour with each patient, takes note of each symptom, listens to each emotional concern, takes every call from every worried patient, handles all emergency situations, fills every prescription, handles each every insurance concern, breaks bad news gently, does her hospital rounds, yet is never late to see those in the waiting room. She treats ...

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Being sick isn’t easy, but neither is being the sibling of someone who’s sick. We’ve shared many stories about children who are living with a serious illness. We’ve talked about their disease, what life is like for them, how they cope in such dire circumstances. But in all of these conversations, one thing we’ve overlooked is telling the stories of the brothers and sisters who sometimes feel that they live in ...

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Dr. Peterson, the radiation oncologist, gets right to the point. "The medical center's tumor board has concluded that your cancer is inoperable, incurable and untreatable," he says flatly. "Any chemotherapy or radiation treatments would be palliative in nature." He begins explaining the reasons behind the board's verdict, but everything he's saying washes out. My mind stopped working as soon as I heard the words "incurable" and "palliative." I am sliding into shock. Dr. ...

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It started with a mild case of nausea and got progressively worse. I became dizzy and shaky, but tried to ignore it. There was work to be done that afternoon. We were moving boxes into storage at my in-laws’ house in Michigan, and I needed to be strong. I carried boxes on unsteady feet, catching myself before bumping into walls. By early evening my legs were wobbly, and I felt ...

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shutterstock_107400536 This is an open love letter about my left leg. I broke it at a roller derby scrimmage in Detroit on September 6. It was my third time representing the Glass City Rollers on the road and the beginning of a long ordeal that has given me plenty of opportunity to reflect on my body and my wellness goals. Before this injury, my ...

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shutterstock_223599997 With roughly 1 billion in Medicare reimbursement dollars being tied to patient satisfaction, it’s no wonder the focus on patient experience is swelling. Of course there are other factors fueling the focus -- the proliferation of online physician ratings websites, ACOs, and CG-CAHPS to name a few. Over the past decade I have visited 100+ different inpatient and outpatient ...

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Jewish history has all too often been written in tears … I am fascinated by people and groups with the capacity to recover, Who, having suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Are not defeated by them but fight back, Strengthened and renewed. - Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, PhD,To Heal a Fractured World In some situations, the whole idea of complete recovery from bereavement makes no sense.  Bereavement can be fully expected to last a lifetime.  ...

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