Entries in narrative medicine (12)


Last (W)rites

It's been a busy time for publications and interviews. Here's one from WVU Magazine


Bodies of Truth Interview

Excited to share this interview I did with Erin Murphy for Punctuate


A few thoughts to start July

On Dance:

"When choreography doesn't sustain some developing view of the people dancing it, it dwindles into attention-seizing stunts." --Alistair Macaulay, The New York Times

On Writing:

"Writers end up chasing their white whales, like it or not." Steve Almond, Bad Stories

On Music:

"Music and life are inseparable. Music is part of our physical and intellectual formation." --Ben Ratliff, Every Song Ever

On Narrative Medicine:

"Our patients' stories are not objects that we can comprehend or master, but rather dynamic entities we can approach and engage with." Rita Charon, Principles and Practice of Narrative Medicine

On Faith:

"There were different kinds of prayer and different kinds of belief and he might be able to figure all that out someday, but not yet." Silas House, Southernmost


Pre-Order Bodies of Truth!

I'm excited to share this new project with you: Bodies of Truth. My co-editors Dinty W. Moore and Erin Murphy taught me much about putting together an anthology, and many thanks to University of Nebraska Press for believing in our project.

My two friends/colleagues from WVU help sum up the range of voices: Dr. Matthew Smith from WVU School of Medicine/Department of Neurology and Mark Brazaitis from Creative Writing. This volume brings together many voices, perspectives and stories around illness, disability, and medicine. 


Vital Signs: Engaging Medicine and the Arts

Thursday, Feb. 8th I gave my (WVU) Honors Faculty Fellows lecture, "Vital Signs: Engaging Medicine and the Arts." 

From the lecture:

"One of the things we collect data about in the infusion center from the patients has to do with Quality of Life. Before this project, I would have never really thought about Quality of Life, but now I think about it all the time. In the infusion center, we use an instrument called the McGill Quality of Life questionnaire. Developed in 1996, this instrument is widely used with people with life threatening illnesses, and specifically palliative patients. While Quality of Life can be tricky to assess, the creators of the McGill instrument came up with a compelling definition of quality of life, published by the American Cancer Society: 'Quality of Life studies and measurements serve to prevent a devastating separation of a patient’s body from a patient’s biography during the delivery of care'."

And about working the infusion center:

"The first time I walked in to get a patient story, my stomach clenched with worry. Although I’d worked with Jamie Shumway intensively, and even though I’d prepared, written and received grants with Dr. Grey, I wondered if the project would really work. Maybe I wouldn’t be able to do it, not be good enough. Maybe all the patients would say no. I went in anyway, introduced myself that very first day to my first patient story. In one of the other cubicles, a patient got married before receiving the first treatment of chemo." 

Thanks to all who attended.