Heather Walker Peterson begins ESN’s 2018 Lenten reflections with a two part series on Lent as Healing Time. Her earlier contributions to ESN, i.e., Giving Thanks, Releasing the Helm, Time Management, Writing as a Spiritual Discipline, can be foundÂ here. Thank you Heather! Note: Follow this linkÂ to explore ESN’s previous Lenten devotionals.Â [Read more…] about Lent: Public and Private Healing
Given my interest in the metaphoric use of scientific language, I couldn’t pass up this editorial on metaphorical science experiments. Physics has made some remarkable advances in its ability to study and hypothesize about features of the universe far removed from everyday experience. Black holes aren’t on every street corner; there was just the one Big Bang; quantum entanglement doesn’t work with billiard balls. In order to pair observational data with with theoretical developments, some researchers design clever experiments on related systems that are available in the lab. The math describing the proxy systems is analogous to models for the inaccessible systems. For example, one group created sonic black holes, systems which trap sound in the way black holes trap light, and used them to explore predictions made about the behavior of regular black holes. How far does the analogy carry? It’s not clear; if we could test black holes to see if their behavior matches these sonic substitutes, we wouldn’t need the substitutes. We might be learning something or we might be tumbling down the rabbit hole.
[Read more…] about Science in Review: Symbols and Symbiotes
[This was originally written for a Christian campus publication, Revisions.]
The patient came in for a refill of pain medications even though it was his first visit to the family medicine practice. The front desk staff had a letter for the supervising resident from the patientâ€™s previous doctor, which the resident read out loud to me: â€œDue to difficulties in our doctor-patient relationship, we regret to inform you that we can no longer serve as your primary care physician office.â€
The residentâ€™s eyes widened with recognition. â€œAh! Iâ€™ve heard about him. They said that this doc was a saint for seeing him for so long, something about him being non-compliant and allÂ that.â€
It was my job as the medical student to figure out the rest of the story. His name was Mr. Thompson* and he had a dizzying array of pathologies. He was friendly and talkative throughout the interview, but I harbored a deep mistrust for him beneath my own pleasant and cordial exterior. I had been charmed and lied toÂ before.
His chief complaint was not, in fact, a need for pain medications. It was a set of extensive and painful leg ulcers, which remained hidden underneath his pant legs. As he rolled up his clothing to reveal the layers of bandages covering both calves, a nauseating stench filled the small room. My eyes began to water and I wondered if it smelled of gangrene. Then I wondered if it would linger on myÂ clothes. [Read more…] about Hands and Feet