Welcome to Grand Rounds, Vol. 7, No. 31

Welcome to Grand Rounds! First, a quick shout-out to Nick Genes, an emergency medicine physician who blogs at blogborygmi (possibly the best blog name ever) and is one of the founders of Grand Rounds. I had no plans to host GR a second time until I saw Nick’s APB for April hosts. I had forgotten how much fun this was until the posts started coming in. So thanks, Nick.

The theme this time is what gives your life or work meaning. One of the loveliest, most contemplative posts I’ve seen on this topic is Nourishing Healthy Seeds from Deb Thomas, who blogs at Debbie’s Cancer Blog. Another one I loved comes from psychiatrist Greg Smith. He has become one of my favorite bloggers and The Day The Music Died is one of many reasons why. He captures music’s power to heal and bring us together during times of profound sadness.

Psychiatrists are famous for answering questions with a question, such as “What do you think it means?” But in all seriousness, the good doctors at ShrinkRap want to know what meaning we ascribe to psychiatry. Here’s the survey.

Dr. Val, who blogs at Better Health and coincidentally, is the other founder of Grand Rounds, submitted the wonderful The Hug That May Have Saved A Life, or as she called it, “meaningful use of a hug.” If you ever needed a testimonial about the healing power of touch, this is it.

I triple dog dare you not to be inspired by Diabetes Polar Flight, Take-Off Today! It’s a Diabetes Mine interview with Douglas Cairns. Kicked out of the Royal Air Force when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, this record-breaking pilot is on a mission to show what you can achieve.

Bongi, a South African surgeon who blogs at Other Things Amanzi, submitted Tongue Twister. Honestly, I have no clue how this fits, other than “it means what it means,” his Zen response when I asked about it. Bongi is one of the best, most vivid storytellers out there, and you are likely to get a laugh if not a vicarious thrill out of this one. Call it the sound of one hand klapping.

Some submissions were love letters from doctors to their chosen profession. ACP Hospitalist submitted Life At Grady: Medicine Nerd by Kimberly Manning, in which she explains why she loves being a doctor. And no, it has nothing to do with the long white coat. Beth Renzulli, who blogs at The Happy Internist, submitted I Love Medicine. And John Mandrola, who blogs at Dr. John M, shared a heartfelt thank you letter in The Most Noble Nobel. It’s the best illustration I’ve ever seen of the intimate connection between research and life.

While doctors love their work, they are less enamored of a system that seems determined to marginalize them. Doug Perednia, who blogs at Road to Hellth (you know what it’s paved with), submitted How to Sabotage A Health Care System. He and many other doctors are questioning the meaning and value of what they do thanks to Kafkaesque experiences like the one he recounts here. After reading it, I can tell you that sabotage is not too strong a term.

Some submissions found meaning in teaching. Christopher Bayne, a urology resident who blogs at hokieMD, submitted The Essence of Medical Education. Chris explained he thinks the open sharing of knowledge has the greatest meaning in medical education, or as he said in his post,”The essence of medicine is sharing our human gains with the rest of society.” 

ACP Internist submitted QD: News Every Day–Physicians Are Peeking Behind Dr. Oz’s Curtain and told me this post was especially meaningful because their physician audience has to contend with patients who get their information from television personalities. I applaud these doctors. It’s bad enough when someone like Oprah values ratings above science. It’s way worse to have an MD go native the way Dr. Oz did. We expect more from doctors.

Social media has become a meaningful way to connect, but it comes with healthcare confidentiality issues. One doctor recently learned this the hard way, as David Harlow explains at HealthBlawg.

Beth Gainer, a breast cancer survivor who blogs at Calling The Shots, submitted Sexualizing Breast Cancer, a topic she said means a lot to her because society needs to change the way it views breast cancer, and because the conversation should be meaningful instead of degrading. Of late, it’s been rather heated as well.

I’m always interested in where posts come from, and the following three came from Canada. Many of us find meaning in sports, and Carolyn Thomas, who blogs at The Ethical Nag, submitted the lighthearted Do It Yourself Psychotherapy for Suffering Hockey Fans. Psychologist Will Meeks took a slightly more serious approach in Emotion Maps. Will explained that being able to sort through and understand our emotions helps us live a healthier life. Finally, a post that really resonated with me came from Susan Biali, MD by way of KevinMD. Its title, Stop and Really Think About What You Want From Life, says it all. Dr. Biali did not let her passion for medicine extinguish her passion for flamenco.

Barbara Kivowitz, who blogs at In Sickness and In Health, submitted the thoughtful Taking A Break, in which she and her partner took a much needed break from illness and caregiving.

I’d like to close with a bit of a counterpoint from Dr. Jessie Gruman at Better Health. It’s called Finding Meaning in Illness: Lemons and the Demand for Lemonade, in which Dr. Gruman contends that her illness is neither blessing nor lesson.

Thanks so much to everyone who submitted, and I hope you have as much fun reading these great stories as I did.


13 thoughts on “Welcome to Grand Rounds, Vol. 7, No. 31

  1. Hi Jackie – what a remarkable range of topics, and somehow all appropriate to your “meaning” theme. Thanks for doing this….


    • Thanks, Carolyn! I loved your hockey story. Reminded me of when I travel to Minnesota. You know you’re in Minnesota when you see WOMEN’S hockey in the sports pages 🙂 Omaha’s fairly big on (men’s) hockey though. Cheers back!

    • You’re welcome, Dinah! I took the survey and signed up to get results via e-mail. I’m very curious to see what kind of feedback you get. I’m a former mental health worker so my perceptions are not shaped by media.

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