York County Medicine Summer 2020 - 9

YO R K C O M E D S O C . O R G

Students, Nurses and Nursing Students, Chaplains, Physical
Therapists, Social Workers and Administrators. In April we read
Lisel Mueller's poem Monet Refuses the Operation during which
we heard the voice of an elder Monet, as imagined by the poet.
Monet declines cataract surgery offered by his physician. The doctor
perceives the visual distortion an affliction while Monet discovers
an advantage.
"I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don't see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being."
The speaker describes the distorted perceptions that give value
to the affliction. The voice becomes strong at times and challenges
the listener.
"What can I say to convince you..."
"I will not return to a universe
of objects that don't know each other..."
"Doctor if only you could see..."
The group was asked to write to this prompt: "Write about an
affliction or challenge that changed your world view." The responses
were so varied and spoke to the intersubjectivity of experience.
This is a key attribute of Narrative Medicine that opens us to

appreciate the experience of others which may be very different
from our own. A resident responded to the prompt with these lines:
Bias
They look like me
They walk like me
They see like me
They smile like me
They bleed like me
We are the same

Support for the Team
Each week since the stay at home order in mid-March I have sent
a Narrative Medicine piece to the Family Medicine Residency care
team at the Thomas M. Hart Family Practice Center. These pieces
include an image and a short text. The pieces are aimed at drawing
into one's mind an image of beauty and provoking reflection about
what goes on around us. They are to be a refreshment in the day and
something that staff can revisit during the course of the week.
A very short essay, Joyas Voladoras, from Brian Doyle's collection
of essays, poems and stories, One Long River of Song, is a good
example. Joyas voladoras means flying jewels - that's what the
Spanish explorers called them when they first saw a hummingbird.
In two and a half pages of beautiful prose Doyle makes a foray
into what we know about hearts - the tiniest of hearts of the
hummingbird and the largest of hearts of the blue whale. In so
continued on next page >

SUMMER 2020 | York County Medicine

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York County Medicine Summer 2020

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