Archives for the day of: March 29, 2015

The Swedish Nobel Laureate poet and psychologist died on March 26. Despite suffering a stroke in 1990, he continued to write, and to play the piano with his left hand. I have always been drawn to his sparse yet intense style, and include here one of my favourites, ‘Alone’:

I

One evening in February I came near to dying here.
The car skidded sideways on the ice, out
onto the wrong side of the road. The approaching cars –
their lights – closed in.

My name, my girls, my job
broke free and were left silently behind
further and further away. I was anonymous
like a boy in a playground surrounded by enemies

The approaching traffic had huge lights.
They shone on me while I pulled at the wheel
in a transparent terror that floated like egg white.
The seconds grew – there was space in them –
they grew as big as hospital buildings.

You could almost pause
and breathe out for a while
before being crushed.

Then something caught: a helping grain of sand
or a wonderful gust of wind. The car broke free
and scuttled smartly right over the road.
A post shot up and cracked – a sharp clang – it
flew away in the darkness.

Then – stillness. I sat back still in my seat-belt
and saw someone coming through the swirling snow
to see what had become of me.

II

I have been walking for a long time
on the frozen Östergötland fields.
I have not seen a single person.

In other parts of the world
there are people who are born, live and die
in a perpetual crowd.

To be always visible – to live
in a swarm of eyes –
a special expression must develop.
Face coated with clay.

The murmuring rises and falls
while they divide up among themselves
the sky, the shadows, the sand grains.

I must be alone
ten minutes in the morning
and ten minutes in the evening.
– Without a programme.

Everyone is queuing at everyone’s door.

Many.

One.

translated from the Swedish by Robin Fulton

In an era where stories of illness are increasingly being shared via social media, this conference is timely. It promises to be fascinating https://epatientsconference.wordpress.com/

ePatients: The Medical, Ethical and Legal Repercussions of Blogging and Micro-Blogging Experiences of Illness and Disease

Queen’s University Belfast, 11-12 September 2015

Call for Papers – deadline April 3, 2015:

‘We welcome paper proposals dealing with ePatient accounts from a variety of countries and cultures which address the following questions:

What does the rise in social media (“web 2.0”) participation by patients tell us about the ways in which the growing influence of e-patients is challenging the power structures of traditional healthcare and, as a result, proving contentious?
In what ways might social media narratives of illness be seen as a useful source of information for medics? What, conversely, are their limitations?
How do patients influence their online followers, and vice-versa?
What are the ethical issues involved in documenting ‘the public deathbed’?
What are the potential legal consequences of publicly chronicling the clinical experience?’