On a brisk February morning in 2014, Dan Nuzzo woke up gasping for air. His heart was racing and he could no longer sleep. That moment, Dan explained, was his “lowest point” since his diagnosis of multiple sclerosis two years before. Indeed, at this time, his symptoms were so severe that he postponed his physical therapy training for a second time. Continue reading →
A Review of Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air
A young neurosurgeon’s heartbreaking memoir is also a testament to the importance of the humanities to medical education.
Courtney Marshall is an English Ph.D., activist, and fitness instructor. Vital interviewed her to find out more about her unique experience and how she sees the relationship between narrative and health.
Sometimes headlines tout conclusiveness when that’s not exactly how science works. Can we foster a public perception more open to the fact that medical guidelines evolve as information changes?
It was a comfortable summer night in West Philly.
I sat on my block eating ribs, laughing with family, and watching as my younger cousins playfully ran up the sidewalk. Old school music blared from the radio nearby. It was perfectly peaceful.
Suddenly the music was interrupted. The radio host gravely announced that the verdict was about to be read. I sat frozen—prepared for the worst, yet optimistic for the best. Continue reading →
In his catchy song “Get Rhythm,” Johnny Cash tells the story of a shoe-shine boy who fights the blues with the repetitious beats of the polish rag as it rubs across the shoes, back and forth, back and forth. Laying a soundtrack upon back-breaking work, this rhythmic shoe polisher finds joy in pain, inspiration in tedium.
I like to think that my desire to engage in endurance sports is inflected by the same kind of musical throb and thrum, but instead of following the slap of the rag, my rhythms are composed of racing heartbeats, heel strikes, and hurried breaths. It is a cadence I crave from day to day, so much so that I find it difficult to engage with my research and teaching without it. Continue reading →