Metaphor, Medical Decisions and the Military Mindset

Kristina Fleuty // How would you describe what it is like to live with an injured and chronically painful limb? How would you communicate to a medical professional your reasoning for wanting the elective amputation of that limb? I have recently been pondering how people talk about their bodily experiences, both to their friends and…

Laughing at Death – Part 2: When the Dying Tell Jokes

James Belarde // “My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One of us has got to go.” -Oscar Wilde, shortly before succumbing to illness In Mumbai, India, a kind-looking elderly woman sits on a stool behind a microphone and calmly quips “Life is like that TV journalist Arnab Goswami. Never take…

Laughing at Death: Gallows Humor and the Physician’s Psyche

James Belarde “Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.” -George Bernard Shaw, The Doctor’s Dilemma If you’re reading this article, you’re going to die. That’s not to say, hopefully, that this piece is so bad it will kill you. Nor is…

The World We See – Part 4: “The Dress” Will Still Fool You

By: Lara Boyle February 26th marks a strange and special date in the history of the Internet. On a musician’s fan page, a photo of a dress surfaced along with a plea: “Guys, please help me. Is this dress white or gold, or blue and black?” Over the next week, the picture surged across social…

Stranger Things: Maternal Body Horror

Daisy Butcher Femininity, flowers and death have long been interconnected in the myths, folktales and stories that have captivated cultures across the globe. In their beauty and delicacy, plants can be a source of joy, but in their poisonous, thorned, or carnivorous aspects, they can also inspire fear. Nowhere are these two registers so diametrically…

The World We See, Part 3: A Study of the Women with Superhuman Sight

By: Lara Boyle December Article Summary: Last month, we followed the path of light as it raced from the sun towards the earth. The light hit objects and reflected into the eye, passing through the eye’s lens and cornea.  The lens and cornea determined how much light could enter the eye, we learned, based on…

Tears and rain. Finding a bird and a depressed place.

The first time I saw a parliament of rooks flocking in the early evening sky, I was studying for my Master’s degree. Let me explain. We found ourselves on the edge of a field with naturalist Mark Cocker, just as dusk was turning the clouds a mottled grey colour, waiting for some birds to appear….

Crying Until You Laugh: Finding Humor in Personal Tragedy

James Belarde “The more one suffers, the more, I believe, has one a sense for the comic.” -Søren Kierkegaard In June of 1980, comedy star Richard Pryor covered himself in rum and lit himself on fire after days of cocaine freebasing in what he would later admit was a suicide attempt. During a four-month span…

Breaking Through Trauma with Creative Writing and Bibliotherapy

What benefits might be found in writing about experiences of trauma? Alternatively, what might be the effect of reading about somebody else’s experiences? In my October and November posts, I explored aspects of the medical and rehabilitative object-human relationships in Harry Parker’s novel Anatomy of a Soldier. Although a work of fiction, Parker’s novel is semi-autobiographical….

The Uncertainty of Medicine and Improv Comedy

  James Belarde “Medicine is a science of uncertainty and an art of probability.” -William Osler The Big Sick, a 2017 romantic comedy written by husband-and-wife team Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon, tells the true story of a mysterious illness that strikes Emily early in their relationship. The doctors initially overwhelm her family with medical…

The World We See, Part 1: A Brief History

Lara Boyle I intended to leave for the Museum of Modern Art by 3pm, but time slipped past until I had to rush to the museum before it closed. Navigating New York’s crowded streets while running late is an activity sure to make my blood boil, but today was a rare exception; the sun filtered…