During my relatively brief blogging experience, I have noticed that people hardly ever comment on my posts that are related to broad policy issues or scientific advances. Instead, it is the highly personal stories that seem to generate the most interest. So I asked people to submit articles with the following theme: A personal experience I (or a loved one) had at a hospital and how it caused me to change my behavior or beliefs. We got lots of submissions, and I am very pleased to share many of these with you.
As you might expect, many of these stories deal with physical or emotional pain, from the patient or the provider perspective, so be prepared to cringe from time to time as you empathize with the writer.
I'll start with Terry, just to prove I can be open-minded, in that she submitted her entry with a "Go Rockies!" closing comment! She notes: "I am a nurse anesthetist, and my blog is about my experiences delivering anesthesia care. My article is about a personal experience with anesthesia, and how it changed my life forever." I am willing to bet you cannot read it without feeling something. And here is another one from Bongi involving anaesthesia with a similar theme in a similar setting.
Barbara movingly writes about an unexpected conversation while a patient in a waiting room and how it taught her about hope.
Bruce tells us how an unnerving and awful early experience with a more senior physician when he was a nursing assistant made him into a better provider. Likewise, Tom shares how his time with a more positive mentor helped him be a better hospital administrator.
In another geat story from a current trainee, medical student Thomas Robey relays how the emotional roller coaster of witnessing a Caesarian delivery of an at-risk fetus changed his perspectives about the invasiveness of modern medicine.
Sid, who had a warm spot for the Red Sox during the World Series -- "I'm rooting for Boston in part because my wife went to Harvard and went to Fenway a few times, and in part because any team that betters the Yankees is my next favorite team" -- relates the story of what he learned while operating on another doctor. No short-cuts, no assumptions: Treat them like "regular" patients.
Susan notes: "I'm a volunteer ER chaplain who's written a post about how several visits with hospital patients have helped widen my definition of 'scripture.' And since this post prominently features Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it's also perfect for Halloween!"
Kerri Morrone, type 1 diabetic for over 21 years, finally finds a member of the medical community who actually listens. It makes all the difference. On that theme, Amy looks back on her two-year anniversary of her diabetes diagnosis, noting "the LIFE that I now appreciate as a gift worthy of celebration every single day."
Speaking of time, Laurie tells of her gratitude for providers who did a great job on a relative, but the real theme is her reflection on timing, self-care, and the fact that illness is never convenient but always illuminating. And I offer my own story about my mother that reminds us that there is no time like the present to prepare living wills and advance directives.
As usual, there are a bunch of people who submitted entries that are not related to this week's theme, but are really thoughtful or otherwise well done. Please give them a look. For this week, I have not included some very nice pieces on policy, pricing, management, transparency, and the like. As noted above, I was trying to change direction from those types of topics. Sorry to those authors.
As we consider the effects of the California fires on people's lives, check out this post by Dr. Paul Auerbach on how to survive in this fiery environment. He notes: "Given the awful situation we currently have in southern California with wildfires, every opportunity to distribute this sort of information on personal safety and what to do in an emergency situation is a big help to our firefighters, citizens, etc. Perhaps this advice will keep someone out of the hospital..." I am pleased to spread the word, Paul.
Speaking of prevention, David Williams offers advice about avoiding the norovirus. It is a really good thing to avoid.
We find amazing insights in this post by Jon Schnaars. "Amy Stern, one of our writers, had a chance to interview John Elder Robison about his new memoir that focuses on living with Asperger's."
And finally, just for fun, check out this rating system for medical care proposed by the author of How to Cope with Pain.
Thanks to all for your contributions. And, of course, thanks to Nick Genes, our founder. Have a great week. And, for those whose favorite teams didn't quite make it to or successfully through the World Series, wait till next year!
Meanwhile, Grand Rounds continues next week with Terry hosting at Counting Sheep. Please tune in.