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Lucky Man

I am sick—by most measures, a particularly exasperating and unproductive kind of sick. Although as compliant as can be, nonetheless for my doctors I am a most difficult patient, whose chronic illness remains only partially understood despite hundreds of hours attention from the specialists and consultants caught up in my case. For my insurance company, I am expensive, maddeningly so—requiring almost two dozen prescriptions for pills, respules, inhalers, and medical equipment, with no end in sight (indeed each year brings still more). In addition, I require regular tests, scans, and specialist follow-ups as my doctors continue to search for that elusive byte of objective data that might just give them the answer, the name, a sense of mastery over my failing body—even if that mastery is only the certainty that, yes, my body will continue to fail.

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Fragment 1

There are times when every footfall is as though through a field of melted cheese, when the atmosphere is so thick with fog it has entered the brain and begun to solidify, and the bleachers are full of screaming schoolchildren hurling rusty darts at my slowly moving target. These are days when insights and thoughts come as shards through an unfocused kaleidoscope.

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Wounded Healer

This week's guest post is a poem by Dr. Erin McConnell, an Internal Medicine and Pediatrics specialist at Ohio State. I had a chance this summer to hear Erin read some of her creative work about health and medicine, and I asked her if she might be willing to share some of it with Patient Time. She introduced this poem: "a Type A (is there any other type?) physician explores her own frustrations with a plague of chronic injuries"

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This Plot, This Pound of Flesh

I haven't written here since the new year began for mostly happy reasons: I am back at work, teaching (yay!), editing and writing (huzzah!), and attending meetings (as I said: mostly happy). Getting through this past semester—and a full summer of conference travel and an intensive seminar—feels like a major victory. In the early months of 2015, when I was increasingly unable to make it to campus to teach, I wondered if I would ever return to my former life. Now I am ordering books for the fall semester, editing a new journal, organizing a symposium, navigating deadlines.

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