Finding Sick: Dispatches from the Emergency Department

Steve Server// At about 3:30 am during my first week in the Emergency Department, I realized that the space was different from anywhere else in the hospital.  Though it was my second night shift in a row, I wasn’t tired.  Or if I was tired, there were too many signals, too many sights and sounds and feelings…

“If It Is an Emergency, Please Call 911”: Framing Mental Health in Syllabi

Trigger warning: discussions of suicidality. Like many students, the first time I had access to therapy and other mental health services was when I studied at a university that had those services on campus (which was, for lots of complicated reasons, not until graduate school). Like many students, I’ve spent about as much time on various mental health waitlists as I have in any kind of treatment.

Brief reflections on forging a career in humanities & health

//emilieegger This journal is a deep repository of reflections on living the health-humanities: as providers, scholars, thinkers, and recipients of health care. I’d like to add to this conversation with thoughts on what it has looked like for me to forge a career that centers the humanities in the questions of health care. More than…

The Spaces Between

Jac Saorsa, Artist-Residence// Recent health problems have weakened me a little … sapped my energy and left me feeling somewhat detached from the reality I have been living in. But the new reality, the different way of understanding myself has forced me, gently, to consider my own mortality from a deeply personal perspective. Two ways…

How We Teach How We Die

Emily Waples // This year—the most difficult year of my professional and personal life to date—I inherited a class called “How We Die.” Offered as part of my college’s Biomedical Humanities major, as well as fulfilling an “ethics and social responsibility” requirement for our general education curriculum, this four-credit course met for two hours twice…

A Tale of Three Hospitals

Jaipreet Virdi // They were perceived as dens of death. Desolate, decaying spaces for sick persons desperate for relief, who were admitted and faced with the likelihood never to return home. These were spaces of discovery, where technology, expertise, and experimentation banded together to take up arms in the battle against disease, spaces where bodies…

Self-Care and Healthism

Brynn Fitzsimmons // “The feminist ideal of women as self-empowered caretakers of their own health and as experts in knowing and defining health has given way to a form of women-centered healthism that shares some features with feminism, but lacks its structural critique and politicized edge” (341). As health humanities scholars, particularly in feminist health humanities, what are we doing to “loosen (the) foundations” (Banner 47) of structural racism within health discourses?

Medicine’s martial metaphors: “Fighting the good fight”

Steve Server // In 1977’s Illness as Metaphor, Susan Sontag offered a prescription for the “most truthful way of regarding illness—and the healthiest way of being ill” (3).  As Sontag noted, some of the ways in which humans make meaning on “the night-side of life” may hamper our ability to suffer in a “healthy” way (3).  “As long…

on justice & care

Michelle Munyikwa // Several months ago, I spent some clinical time working on a service with patients being evaluated for organ transplantation. Between the complex medical decision-making and challenging social negotiations that entail transplant evaluation, the social issues are infinitely more subjective and fraught. Everything from the substance use histories to the employment history to…

My Anxious Brain Inspires Me

Melissa Maldonado-Salcedo // “A writer….must believe that whatever happens to him is an instrument…This is even stronger in the case of the artist that happens, including humiliations. embarrassments, misfortunes, all has been given like clay, like material for one’s art.” -Jorge Luis Borges This story offers a snapshot into my head to provide a humanistic…