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medicine

Illustration by Lauren Simkin Berke

Mutations

Is it possible to understand the persistent lag in vaccination rates as a function of failed metaphor? That is to say, as a failure of language—the language of data, the language of science, the language of political rhetoric (to name just a few vocabularies)—to meet individuals at their particular coordinates on the social map? The virus and our national response to it has been figured and refigured.

What Is Found There

Unlike professional wellness culture, humanistic study can be a balm to the soul and giver of durable self-knowledge. But what would this self-knowledge look like in actual clinical practice? What would the hazards be?

Attending

December 3, 2020

I can’t tell you why I rented the theater downtown, other than that it was inevitable, like the notes of a song. Facing the rows of empty velvet seats, I felt the thrust of potential. At night, doctors stood on stage telling stories—not of helicopter rides and loss of blood, but of waffling, of wanting, of grappling with themselves. The audience arrived like spirits, craving not entertainment but something more fundamental and urgent. I sat backstage, eyes closed, living and dying in every pause, every ripple of laughter. This—a live storytelling event by those in health care, for those in health care—was the first thing I had ever originated, one that came from the roiling place inside of me and not a script.

 

Narrative Rhythms

Electrocardiogram (ECG) monitors are like nonfiction writers: taking in the world and spitting it out in fewer dimensions with more meaning—maybe even some sense.

Photo by Dawn Whitmore

Tent Revival

For three days, thousands of uninsured Americans converge on the Wise County Fairgrounds for the largest pop-up clinic in the country. Most are poor, many are in pain, but all have faith in a level of care that neither the government nor private industry can provide.

Gosia Herba

Soucouyant

The mouse before me is dead, its body emptied of organs. Dead but still innervated, so still blinking in this world. I only harvest from their core—heart, lungs, liver, and the rest—but soon I will have to work with their brains.

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