Patient Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 591 quotes )
... we have created a man with not one brain but two. ... This new brain is intended to control the biological brain. ... The patient's biological brain is the peripheral terminal -- the only peripheral terminal -- for the new computer. ... And therefore the patient's biological brain, indeed his whole body, has become a terminal for the new computer. We have created a man who is one single, large, complex computer terminal. The patient is a read-out device for the new computer, and is helpless to control the readout as a TV screen is helpless to control the information presented on it.
Doctors tend to enter the arenas of their profession's practice with a brisk good cheer that they have to then stop and try to mute a bit when the arena they're entering is a hospital's fifth floor, a psych ward, where brisk good cheer would amount to a kind of gloating. This is why doctors on psych wards so often wear a vaguely fake frown of puzzled concentration, if and when you see them in fifth-floor halls. And this is why a hospital M.D.--who's usually hale and pink-cheeked and poreless, and who almost always smells unusually clean and good--approaches any psych patient under this care with a professional manner somewhere between bland and deep, a distant but sincere concern that's divided evenly between the patient's subjective discomfort and the hard facts of the case.
Bones are patient. Bones never tire nor do they run away. When you come upon a man who has been dead many years, his bones will still be lying there, in place, content, patiently waiting, but his flesh will have gotten up and left him. Water is like flesh. Water will not stand still. It is always off to somewhere else; restless, talkative, and curious. Even water in a covered jar will disappear in time. Flesh is water. Stones are like bones. Satisfied. Patient. Dependable. Tell me, then, Alobar, in order to achieve immortality, should you emulate water or stone? Should you trust your flesh or your bones?
Ronkers was getting out of the elevator on the first floor when the intercom paged 'Dr Heart'. There was no Dr Heart at University Hospital. 'Dr Heart' meant someone's heart had stopped. 'Dr Heart?' the intercom asked sweetly. 'Please come to 304 . . .' Any doctor in the hospital was supposed to hurry to that room. There was an unwritten rule that you looked around and made a slow move to the nearest elevator, hoping another doctor would beat you to the patient. Ronkers hesitated, letting the elevator door close. He pushed the button again, but the elevator was already moving up. 'Dr Heart, room 304,' the intercom said calmly. It was better than urgently crying, 'A doctor! Any doctor to room 304! Oh my God, hurry!' That might disturb the other patients and the visitors.
An oncology ward is a battlefield, and there are definite hierarchies of command. The patients, they're the ones doing the tour of duty. The doctors breeze in and out like conquering heroes, but they need to read your child's chart to remember where they've left off from the previous visit. It is the nurses who are the seasoned sergeants -- the ones who are there when your baby is shaking with such a high fever she needs to be bathed in ice, the ones who can teach you how to fluch a central venous catheter, or suggest which patient floor might still have Popsicles left to be stolen, or tell you which dry cleaners know how to remove the stains of blood and chemotherapies from clothing. The nurses know the name of your daughter's stuffed walrus and show her how to make tissue paper flowers to twine around her IV stand. The doctor's may be mapping out the war games, but it is the nurses who make the conflict bearable.
A poor man is not disposed to quick and high resentment when he is among the rich: he is apt to yield to others, for he knows others are above him: he is not stiff and self-willed; he is patient with hard fare; he expects no other than to be despised, and takes it patiently; he does not take it heinously that he overlooked and but little regarded; he is prepared to be in a lowly place; he readily honours his superiors; he takes reproofs quietly; he readily honours others as above him; he easily yields to be taught, and does not claim much to his understanding and judgment; he is not over nice or humoursome, and has his spirit subdued to hard things; he is not assuming, nor apt to take much upon him, but it is natural for him to be subject to others. Thus it is with the humble Christian.
Judging from the spiderwebs clinging to it, the emergency stairway was hardly ever used. To each web clung a small black spider, patiently waiting for its small prey to come along. Not that the spiders had any awareness of being "patient". A spider had no special skill other than building its web, and no lifestyle choice other than sitting still. It would stay in one place waiting for its prey until, in the natural course of things, it shriveled up and died. This was all genetically predetermined. The spider had no confusion, no despair, no regrets. No metaphysical doubt, no moral complications. Probably. Unlike me. I move, therefore I am.
After hearing much from his patients about alleged faith-healing, a Minnesota physician named William Nolen spent a year and a half trying to track down the most striking cases. Was there clear medical evidence that the disease was really present before the ‘cure’? If so, had the disease actually disappeared after the cure, or did we just have the healer’s or the patient’s say-so? He uncovered many cases of fraud, including the first exposure in America of ‘psychic surgery’. But he found not one instance of cure of any serious organic (non-psychogenic) disease. There were no cases where gallstones or rheumatoid arthritis, say, were cured, much less cancer or cardiovascular disease. When a child’s spleen is ruptured, Nolen noted, perform a simple surgical operation and the child is completely better. But take that child to a faith-healer and she’s dead in a day.
One thing I do know about intimacy is that there are certain natural laws which govern the sexual experience of two people, and that these laws cannot be budged any more than gravity can be negotiated with. To feel physically comfortable with someone else's body is not a decision you can make. It has very little to do with how two people think or act or talk or even look. The mysterious magnet is either there, buried somewhere deep behind the sternum, or it is not. When it isn't there (as I have learned in the past, with heartbreaking clarity) you can no more force it to exist than a surgeon can force a patient's body to accept a kidney from the wrong donor. My friend Annie says it all comes down to one simple question: "Do you want your belly pressed against this person's belly forever --or not?
These modern analysts! They charge so much. In my day, for five marks Freud himself would treat you. For ten marks, he would treat you and press your pants. For fifteen marks, Freud would let you treat him, and that included a choice of any two vegetables. Thirty dollars an hour! Fifty dollars an hour! The Kaiser only got twelve and a quarter for being Kaiser! And he had to walk to work! And the length of treatment! Two years! Five years! If one of us couldn’t cure a patient in six months we would refund his money, take him to any musical revue and he would receive either a mahogany fruit bowl or a set of stainless steel carving knives. I remember you could always tell the patients Jung failed with, as he would give them large stuffed pandas.
When conventional medicine fails, when we must confront pain and death, of course we are open to other prospects for hope. And, after all, some illnesses are psychogenic. Many can be at least ameliorated by a positive cast of mind. Placebos are dummy drugs, often sugar pills. Drug companies routinely compare the effectiveness of their drugs against placebos given to patients with the same disease who had no way to tell the difference between the drug and the placebo. Placebos can be astonishingly effective, especially for colds, anxiety, depression, pain, and symptoms that are plausibly generated by the mind. Conceivably, endorphins -the small brain proteins with morphine-like effects - can be elicited by belief. A placebo works only if the patient believes it’s an effective medicine. Within strict limits, hope, it seems, can be transformed into biochemistry.
Part of my training was learning how to refer patients to cardiologists for heart problems, gastroenterologists for stomach issues, and rheumatologists for joint pain. Given that most physicians were trained this way, it's no wonder that the average Medicare patient has six doctors and is on five different medications.