Lectures

Staying (at Home) with Brain Fog: “Un-witting” Patient Activism

This article is part of the series:


Scene 1: It’s Sunday afternoon, around one o’clock, and a group of a dozen or so people log onto a video call from their apartments. Occasionally someone’s cat will walk into the frame, obscuring the camera, or a deliveryman will ring the buzzer, interrupting the flow of conversation. But mostly, what we see of each other are scenes of domestic

Lectures

The ‘truth’ about ALS: Reconciling bias, motives, and etiological gaps

This article is part of the series:

In February of 2019, I was giving a talk in New Haven, Connecticut. My paper was an overview of my research, titled “Is It a ‘White Disease’? ALS, Race, and Suffering in St. Louis, MO.” I closed with an ethnographic vignette from a key informant, Tyrell, whose brother had died from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) three years prior, after being …

Lectures

Empty Beds and Mounting Deaths: COVID-19 and U.S. Healthcare’s Systemic Failures

This article is part of the series:

It was afternoon in early April and I was only two-thirds of the way through my 12-hour shift. Between checking on how one patient was breathing and whether another was ready for discharge, I paused at the edge of an open walkway conjoining three diamond-shaped towers. Taking a deep breath behind my face shield and two layers of masks, I …

Lectures

Enlisted Laborers of Public Health: overlaps in the work of soldiers in historical perspective

This article is part of the series:

In April, a friend relayed her experience of getting a test for COVID-19 at a drive-through site at a university in Rhode Island, describing “dozens of camouflaged National Guard soldiers directing grim-faced drivers.” After more than 12 days of persistent fever and two conversations with her doctor, she reported as instructed, alone in her car, and held her ID up …

Lectures

On Vulnerability, Resilience, and Age: Older Americans Reflect on the Pandemic

This article is part of the series:

Every morning, Americans wake up to fresh news of the heavy toll the coronavirus pandemic is exerting upon vulnerable older people—from the likelihood of developing a more severe form of Covid-19, to the risks of isolation and mental health problems as they give up social contacts in order to stay safe. We read essays like the New York Times opinion

Lectures

“Out of options”: The implications of COVID-19 for hospitalized patients with cognitive impairment

This article is part of the series:

“How about a walk today?” I asked Mr. T each morning I arrived to the hospital, visiting him on my morning rounds. Mr T. grinned back at me from the edge of his bed beneath his bright red veteran’s baseball cap, a sharp contrast to the dull monotone hospital gown. “Oh you betcha, doc,” he smiled. Our daily stroll entailed …