words of a physician writer

15 Mar

The physician-writer: a profession in itself.  I was drawn to the writings of physicians before I was called to the field of medicine.  John Keats (though he never practiced medicine), William Carlos WilliamsOliver SacksAtul Gawande, to name a few of the greats.

I stumbled upon this article last year and was taken in by both the story and the telling of it.  And, of course, the questions Dr. Paul Kalanithi pondered in the piece forced me to take pause longer than I found comfortable.  I was sad to learn that he died earlier this week, on March 9th, after living nearly two years with stage-4 non-small-cell lung cancer.  He was 37 years old.

In “Before I Go,” he writes to his infant daughter:

That message is simple: When you come to one of the many moments in life when you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more, but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing.

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6 Responses to “words of a physician writer”

  1. phantomdiver March 15, 2015 at 4:30 pm #

    Oh my goodness. That is heart-rending and beautiful. Also a really good argument for having one’s children while one is young.

    • annaojesus March 18, 2015 at 10:30 am #

      Thanks for your note! I love his writing. I think there are arguments on both sides (though I think we probably agree on those in favor). My mom was 40 when she had me (24 with my first brother)…and I think her experience and age contributed to the type of relationship we had (which I cherish considerably). I know losing my mom as a teenage is preferable to losing her as an infant. xoxo

  2. Larry Oppenheimer March 15, 2015 at 6:01 pm #

    Wow !!!!

    A really good thought. Beautiful.

    Dad

    Sent from my iPad

    • annaojesus March 18, 2015 at 10:30 am #

      Thanks so much, Dad! I love his writing.

  3. Larry Oppenheimer March 15, 2015 at 8:50 pm #

    And don’t forget Michael Chreighton (sp).

    Dad

    Sent from my iPad

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