This is the vitamin-boosted issue of The Reader in which doctors and nurses write about the matters that are close to their heart:
Christopher Dowrick examines the good of stories in a health-setting and the crucial need for a patient to be able to ‘tell a good story’ about her- or himself.
Community nurse and dovegreyreader Lynne Hatwell gives a personal account of the way in which reading and nursing have twined themselves together in her life.
Raymond Tallis goes into very deep questions with Chekhov (in his short story ‘Ward 6’). Raymond writes:
“My passion for philosophy goes a long way back – further than my long, at times difficult, love affair with the profession of medicine, which occupied the greater part of my waking consciousness between 1970 and 2006. Most of two dozen non-medical books I have published are best classified as ‘philosophy’. And yet the physician in me has always had reservations about this, the most ambitious of the conversations mankind has had with itself. It often seemed culpably remote from the concerns of my everyday life as a doctor. . . Fundamental questions about the origin, the limitations and the validity of human knowledge (‘epistemology’), not to speak of yet more fundamental questions about what kinds of things there are . . . hardly exercised me when I was hurrying, with beating heart, to a patient whose heart had stopped beating.”
Sheffield GP and writer, Jo Cannon’s short story, ‘Nasma’s Malady’ concerns one of the regular visitors at a doctor’s surgery, a woman who is suffering from the past. To escape the company of his own feelings, caught in an unhappy marriage, the GP is driven to question others about their lives except that these saving questions remain unasked:
“Questions he can’t ask hang like bubbles in air.
‘Why are you here? What happened to you?’
Instead he says, ‘What sort of pain? How do you sleep at night?'”
There is also new poetry and fiction from John Kinsella plus all our usual features. Add to this an interview with Richard Briers, and Janet Suzman’s vivid account of her childhood and experience in apartheid South Africa and you have an issue full to the brim with goodness.