publishing personal accounts of illness and healing, fostering a humanistic practice of medicine, encouraging health care advocacy

Nineteen Steps

Priscilla Mainardi Tuesday morning, eight o’clock, and I have seven things to do. Check vitals, change a dressing, get a patient out of bed, send another to the operating room. Review lab results, give medications, start a blood transfusion. I have six patients, and they have an average of five morning medications each. I make three trips to the med room for supplies, two trips to the pantry for fresh water.  Mrs. Napoli has eight

Read More »

I Promise: A Mother’s Response to the Newtown Shooting

Tamar Rubinstein Editor’s Note: One week ago, a deeply troubled young man carrying a semiautomatic assault rifle and two pistols broke into a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school and shot 26 people to death before killing himself. Twenty of the victims were six- and seven-year-old children. In a nation grown increasingly accustomed to mass shootings, the reactions to this massacre have been intense–and intensely personal. Today’s Pulse story is one such response, that of a parent. Last Friday,

Read More »

Memento Mori

Craig W. Steele Quo Vadis Nursing Home haunts the east side of Erie Street, squatting opposite Roselawn Cemetery, whose wrought-iron gates  gape tauntingly wide and welcoming. Today will soon be buried:  three wizened men sit rocking, speechless, on the front porch,  yearning for the shadowed marble and granite headstones, no longer afraid of death, only of dying–suspended between fear and need, stoically awaiting the next busload of grade-schoolers determined to brighten their deep-shadowed days. Editor’s

Read More »

Missing Piece

Ray Bingham I entered the hospital by a back door. It was evening. As I walked down the quiet corridors, their cinder-block walls, green paint, tiled floors and soft fluorescent lighting granted me a superficial sense of familiarity: I’d walked these halls countless times over the last five years. Now, however, I also felt a bit apprehensive. I was not supposed to be here.  Two weeks before, I’d been laid off. It had been the

Read More »

Code Blue

Stephen W. Leslie I was startled awake at 3:40 am by a loudspeaker blaring “Code Blue…Code Blue.”  As the hospital’s newly hired chaplain intern, I’d been sleeping in the overnight room. Stumbling out of bed and groggily changing out of my pajamas, I made sure to put on my hospital badge.  I made my way to the hospital’s “Z” building, where the ICU was located, and took the elevator to the fourth floor. The elevator

Read More »

The One She Calls Milk

Amy Haddad Is for pain but has a longer name she can’t pronounce. It’s for when he shakes. She is not sure if the shakes mean pain since these days he often cannot say. Earlier when he could say, he would mimic the circle faces on the pain chart the nurses held up to him. He would try on expressions until he found one that fit his pain. He would set his lips into a

Read More »

Nothing to Hide

Kevin Dorsey About thirty years ago, after I’d completed my internal medicine residency and a rheumatology fellowship, my wife and I moved with our three-year-old son to my wife’s hometown.  There I joined a multispecialty group practice as the second rheumatologist. Over time, the plan was for me to build a rheumatology practice, but while that was happening I took on all kinds of patients, both primary-care and intensive-care. I felt very comfortable doing general

Read More »

Hurricane Sandy: Two Tales of One City: Part 2

  Not Your Usual Halloween    Alice Teich Hey Manisha, Last night–Halloween–I went and volunteered at a shelter in a school basement/gymnasium in the Nineties on the Upper West Side.  There were more than 100 folks staying there, mostly evacuated from the Lower East Side. The shelter, run by the City, had some volunteers at the front desk, a few security people, a medical team that consisted of myself, one other doctor and a nurse

Read More »

Hurricane Sandy: Two Tales of One City

Editor’s Note: Hurricane Sandy hit New York, Pulse‘s home, on Monday, October 29. Eleven days later, many parts of our area are still limping toward recovery. Today we bring you two stories, rather than the usual one, about the hurricane’s impact. The first is by a medical student who was suddenly thrust closer to his newly adopted city. The second is an e-mail written to a colleague by a family physician who volunteered time in a

Read More »

for the Ten Days

Madeleine Mysko We say goodbye, her hand goes up (but notin time to catch me), then the breach: I kissmy mother on the cheek. Oops, I say,you’d better wash your face. We laugh, of course–that’s the better way to make it throughthe chemotherapeutic calendar.But it’s no joke. Her white cell count is low.I see my mother back away from me. I’m treacherous. I’ve not observed the TenSolemn Days of Abstinence. Oh what to do but put a

Read More »
Scroll to Top