Beyond Survival: Quality of Life in Oncology

Steve Server // Cancer is conceptually as well-circumscribed as a tumor feels when you palpate it under the skin during a routine exam.  Its hardness imprints itself upon your sensorium, and then upon your psyche, as you feel the burden of the unpleasant truth that must soon make itself known.  Dense, solid, almost like a…

“Without a patient for a text”: Medical Education in the Age of COVID

Steve Server // “The Hospital is the only proper College in which to rear a true disciple of Aesculapius”     Dr. John Abernethy It had been a strange few days.  I had been pulled from my original team in general neurology to join the stroke service for the sake of “social distancing.”  The neurology work room—which…

On Penumbrae: Uncertainty in Neurology

Steve Server // You are sitting at your computer in the neurosciences work room late one evening writing a progress note when your pager buzzes.  A stroke code has been called in the Emergency Department.  You grab your reflex hammer and your tuning fork and head down to the ED.  The linoleum gives off a…

On the power of play

Steve Server // A critical part of pediatrics is mastering the physical exam. Kids are squirmy. They aren’t used to tolerating noxious stimuli—like instruments in ears or cold metal on skin—like adults are. Consequently, seasoned pediatricians have a box full of tricks to make for effective physical examinations for kids. Don’t rush immediately to place…

In defense of humoralism

Steve Server // “When you get stressed, all the blood comes out,” she explained. This was one of the explanations I heard from a patient in the OBGYN clinic regarding her ongoing vaginal bleeding, which was likely due to cervical cancer.  She told me that she had been eating flour mixed with water on days…

SAVEAHAART: Time in Intensive Care

Steve Server // The residents of the Cardio-Thoracic Intensive Care Unit (CT/ICU) work in a cluttered, white box.  The walls are bare, blindingly white, except for the decorations which hung for a few days celebrating some unknown individual’s retirement.  None of us had any idea who would soon leave “The Unit,” but as soon as…