Nursing, Social Drama, and the Coronavirus Pandemic

John A. Carranza // Coronavirus, or COVID-19, has disrupted daily life for people around the world as medical experts, scientists, and nations rush to halt the spread of this virus. In the United States, Americans have put their lives on hold to practice social distancing and quarantine when infected. Grocery store employees, delivery service workers,…

Derrière(s): Chronos and the Gay Male

Dr. Brian J. Troth // “Le passé est passé. The future is now.” These temporal adages, for all intents and purposes platitudes uttered without much thought, suggest that we are obsessed with moving forward, going so far as to prematurely announce the impossibility that the future has already arrived. Yet we are also apt to…

Laughter Part 2: Is It Safe To Laugh Yet?

James Belarde // “It seems to me that you can know a man by his laughter, and if from the first encounter you like the laughter of some completely unknown person, you may boldly say that he is a good man.” -Fyodor Dostoevsky, in Notes from A Dead House “A woolly mammoth and a saber-tooth…

Pain without Cause

Diana Rose Newby // …if the only external sign of the felt-experience of pain (for which there is no alteration in the blood count, no shadow on the X ray, no pattern on the CAT scan) is the patient’s verbal report (however itself inadequate), then to bypass the voice is to bypass the bodily event,…

The Smile: A Confusing Expression for Every Occasion

James Belarde // “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” -Thích Nhất Hạnh One of the biggest smiles I’ve ever flashed came after purposefully having my jaw broken, subsequently facing a six-week period where I couldn’t chew. While this sounds masochistic at…

Mothers, Memoir, and Medicine

Livia Arndal Woods // It’s Mother’s Day, holiday of breakfast-in-bed and/or reflection on the ways our society fails families. This Mother’s Day, I want to add a thought about how memoirs of motherhood cultivate an insistent thread of anxiety about medicine.

MD+PhD: A Reflection on Collaborative Thinking and Writing

Jennifer & April Edwell // When we applied to be contributors for Synapsis, we described ourselves as embodying the health humanities: Jennifer—trained as a humanist, April—trained as a medical scientist. As partners, we have learned to navigate across these two worlds, and we have developed an appreciation for the unique opportunities and challenges that result…

“They’re Saying This Over Me”: Neutralizing the (White) Doctor’s Gaze

Marcus Mosley //  My mother tells me that in a New York hospital in 1994, there were two distinct sections in the maternity ward. One section consisted of “white ladies” having normal babies, and the other side, unofficially labeled the “reject section,” consisted of mostly black women from the nearby prison having not normal babies….

The Complicated History of the Visual Analog Scale: Part 1

Gabi Schaffzin // A few hours after knee surgery, a nurse or doctor might come into your room and ask how you’re feeling. They might show you a scale of 6 faces like this: Maybe a notched line like this: Or, they might show you this line. It will probably have two phrases on it:…

The Then and There of Transmasculine Pregnancy

The first epigraph above is taken from the climactic scene in Thomas Middleton’s play, More Dissemblers Besides Women (1614), in which a Page swoons and calls out for a midwife after rigorous dancing lessons. Cinquepace, the speaker, assumes a miracle, an upside-down world, a strange case, and that a woman must have impregnated the Page—all of which allow for the possibility a young man could be pregnant (5.2.224-29). The audience has more insight into this moment, however. In the first scene of the play, Lactantio recognizes the Page as a former lover in disguise, and the Page informs Lactantio they are “with child” (1.2.142). (Because the Page is given no names other than Page or Antonio in the play, I refer to them throughout this piece with they/them pronouns). Over the course of More Dissemblers Besides Women, the Page waits in vain for Lactantio to marry them, while the other characters perceive the Page as “sweet a breasted page as ever lay at his master’s feet in a truckle-bed” (1.4.100-3). Even after the Page goes into labor, Cinquepace is none the wiser and exits the stage “supporting the Page” (1069).