“Being mortal is about the struggle to cope with the constraints of our biology, with the limits set by genes and cells and flesh and bone. Medical science has given us remarkable power to push against these limits, and the potential value of this power was a central reason I became a doctor. But again and again, I have seen the damage we in medicine do when we fail to acknowledge that such power is finite and always will be.
We’ve been wrong about what our job is in medicine. We think our job is to ensure health and survival. But really it is larger than that. It is to enable well-being. And well-being is about the reasons one wishes to be alive. Those reasons matter not just at the end of life, or when debility comes, but all along the way.
Whenever serious sickness or injury strikes and your body or mind breaks down, the vital questions are the same: What is your understanding of the situation and its potential outcomes? What are your fears and what are your hopes? What are the trade-offs you are willing to make and not willing to make? And what is the course of action that best serves this understanding?” Atul Gawande
Dialogue is the substance of effective problem solving. A topic alone can be too broad and ends up with people on opposing sides shouting rhetoric at one another that does not even remotely resemble the give and take of meaningful discussion. People come to these situations with a suitcase full of catchy phrases and half stated facts from half read articles that came to them on Facebook during one evening commute home on the train. The object of the exchange seems to be to unpack that suitcase as quickly as one can, flinging the phrases with all the strength you can muster, and then to grab the empty suitcase and head home. Continue reading →
“The researchers said the incidence of developmental abnormalities by alcohol use was ‘statistically significant,’” according to examiner.com. “They concluded that paternal alcohol exposure prior to conception causes developmental defects in the next generation. Transgenerational toxicity — a health effect that occurs when a pollutant or toxic substance passes from a parent to an offspring — caused by paternal alcohol exposure ‘is possibly mediated through alcohol-induced changes in sperm’ at the DNA level.”Continue reading →
“Stop ‘fighting’ for recovery. Your body and mind; your heart and your soul – it’s been a war zone for far too long. Make peace with your demons. They didn’t come only to torture you… They came to show you where your cracks are; to open the hidden wounds; to illuminate your dark sides. Your demons came to teach you to take care of yourself – they’ve dragged you through hell to do it. You’re at war with yourself. But you can’t eradicate the parts you don’t like; you can’t shoot your way to health and happiness. You need to lay down all your weapons of self-destruction and listen to what these little devils have been trying to tell you – really tell you. They’re just the messengers, and in trying to shoot them you just keep shooting yourself. Healing lies in acceptance – the good, the bad, the dark, the light, the beautiful and the ugly. Harmonious connection between all facets of your perfectly flawed being.”