22 April 2011

A year for patients

For K and K

The first patient who died and the first newborn I took care of in the nursery – have the same name.
K--- .
I wish I could write it. Suffice it to say, it’s a beautiful name and an uncommon one.
The first patient who died, the first K, was 29, with metastatic cancer. Latina.
The first newborn in the nursery, the first birth after K and a string of other deaths, was 6 hours old when I met her. Half Japanese, half Turkish.
And they have the same name with the same spelling, and, most likely, the same black hair.

Born thirty years apart.

This year, I’ve kept track of all my patients who have been born and who have died.

03 April 2011

Dance is a good complement to medicine.

I’ve been doing a few different types of dance, lately, and I just spent an evening watching semi-professional break dancers and circus performers and aerialists and capoeristas and…whatever else…just play. There were photos of Cirque de Soleil-type poses around the performance space. Having seen the spine, knowing some of the physical mechanics of the human body – it’s astounding to me to see that it’s capable of this. It seems as if it shouldn’t be possible. These are the things we learn.

When I see patients in the hospital, they’re in bed. The note, in fact (assuming the patient is doing well) will include something like this in the General subsection of Objective findings. “Comfortable, resting in bed, NAD (no acute distress).” If it’s a psych note, it will also state “dressed in hospital attire,” and I might make some comment about the state of dress (disheveled?) or hygiene – as indicators of state of mind, situation, possible delirium, connection to the outside world - or supposed to be. I might say “looks older” or “looks younger than stated age.”