Tuesday, May 20, 2014

what stories would you pick?

At teatime My Mom used to sit me on her lap and read me stories in the big bed. My favorite line from our Richard Scarry storybook was, “ele with the l-o-n-g nose”. I can only imagine this reciting was accompanied by tracing of the elephant’s special nose with my finger. Despite having been too tiny to remember this episode, My Mom has told me enough times of our reading ritual that it’s been transformed into a fond childhood memory, and with it, many positive associations with storytelling have held strong throughout my life.

I was reminded yet again of the power of stories while watching the beautifully made, You Only Die Once: Kate Granger’s story, promoted as part of last week’s Dying Matters Awareness Week, in the UK. I was particularly moved hearing Kate explain how, along with her candles and music, she’s also picked out the books she'd like her Mom to read to her when the time comes for her to die. Kate is a prolific tweeter (@GrangerKate), blogger, writer, doctor and also a patient with an incurable rare cancer. She started the think shifting campaign #hellomynameis that advocates for patients to be seen as people and encourages healthcare workers to take the time to introduce themselves to their patients as a normal standard in the delivery of care.

Storytelling for health means something far greater to me than just a complementary approach to “traditional medicine”, but yet, discovering just this month that there is an actual academic field and clinical practice called Narrative Medicine came as an affirming surprise. I hope this new awakening will empower my voice as a storyteller as I uncover more about the emerging (ancient) field. I recently edited my twitter profile (@blumencasey) with my education wish: Want to learn Narrative Medicine now.
-post by Emma Rooney 


If you'd also like to learn about Narrative Medicine, Dr. Rita Charon (Columbia University) provides a powerful introduction with her TED Talk, Honoring the stories of illness. I'll be sure to continue sharing as I discover more about this important topic.

1 comment:

  1. Its interesting that in trying to understand others - we often begin with a long list of questions which can seem intrusive and off the mark.
    I liked the way she starts a conversation saying .." we're here today to find out about you , your body, your health , your life. Please tell me what you think I should know about your situation"
    Very nurturing !