Light and Shadows: On Care and Loss

Sarah Roth // My mother and I divide up her Hospice bags: two nondescript fanny packs holding morphine, liquids, and nutrition. Artifacts of the land of the critically ill, they are contraband here in the clinic.

‘Joker’: A Complex Representation of Mental Illness?

Amala Poli // Joker (2019), a film directed by Todd Phillips, and co-produced by Todd Phillips, Bradley Cooper, and Emma Tillinger Koskoff, represents mental illness in a way that is neither easily acceptable or dismissible. Some critics have viewed the film as a troubling representation of mental illness due to its construction of the troubled…

From Norma and Normman to Kim and Caitlyn

Sara Press// In the summer of 1945, a very average couple, who would come to embody the ideals of American society, emerged into the public eye. Brought to life by Abram Belskie and Robert Latou Dickinson, the Cleveland Health Museum debuted the sculptures of Norma and Normman as “A Portrait of the American People.” Strong…

SAVEAHAART

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…

From Words to Breath – Connecting Through Poetry

Bríd Phillips // Communicating with a terminally ill friend can often feel daunting and full of fear and anxiety. What will we talk about? Will I say the wrong thing? Or is there actually anything left to say as you both stare into the void? Recently, I had this experience when a work colleague developed…

Black Mirror and the Therapies of Distraction

Bojan Srbinovski // “San Junipero,” the fourth episode of the third season of the techno-dystopian television series Black Mirror, opens with a series of distractions. It is the year 1987, and Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven is a Place on Earth” is playing on the radio. Yorkie, one of the episode’s protagonists, walks out onto the street…

On gratitude, ethnography, & care

Michelle Munyikwa // “Oh, you work with refugees. That’s so wonderful. They must be so grateful!” For several years, I’ve been working with refugees and asylum seekers as part of my dual training as a physician and anthropologist. While there have been many instructive and interesting moments that have taken place within this work, I’d like…

What about the men? The paternity data gap in DOHaD research

Emily Wheater // The ‘Developmental Origins of Health and Disease’ (DOHaD) hypothesis posits that environmental exposures that occur during critical periods of development have long-lasting and/or penetrative effects on offspring health by acting on developmental processes. Even if you have not heard ‘DOHaD’ before, you are likely to already be familiar with the concept and…

Review: Cesarean Sections & Risk: Ongoing Evolution of a Procedure

John A. Carranza // On September 19, 2019, the website Motherly posted an article entitled “These Birth Photos Prove How Beautiful Clear Drape C-Sections Can Be.” Heather Marcoux, the author,  explained what “gentle cesarean sections” are and how they have come to transform the cesarean section procedure in contemporary medicine. Previously, the operation included physicians…

Exploring the experience of illness through creative practice

Jac Saorsa, Artist-in-Residence // In my first post for Synapsis, I would like to introduce an ongoing project, Drawing Women’s Cancer, which I began in 2012. The timing is particularly appropriate as,  just last week (and here you must forgive my shameless self-promotion!) my book entitled Like Any Other Woman: The Lived Experience of Gynaecological…