December 19, 2019

From the Editor

Well, well, well, we are all nearing another lap around the sun as it were as we move from 2019 to 2020. Our little blue planet sweeps through time and space in an elliptical orbit carrying us all with it. The splendors of this little orb are revealed to us daily, variably perhaps, but they are there for our perusal. Ironically the coming year is 2020. Perhaps it will live up to its numeral and provide us all with the vision we need to live happy, healthy, productive and meaningful lives.

With “perfect vision” perhaps some clarity can be made of our crazy, topsy-turvy world. The explosion of social media and its ubiquitous societal penetration can be an angel and a demon. Validation, comradery and common interests are some of the “angels.” The “demons” lie in the tasteless/thoughtless humor, political rancor, and salacious, slanderous rantings of people with nothing positive to contribute to our society. We can only hope the optics of 2020 can live up to the number and the “peace” and joy” we mention so much this time of year carry over into 2020 and we all take them to heart.

We here at the ACEP Section of Medical Humanities are doing our part. My colleagues, as always, have been hard at work. They have produced for us a feast for the eyes (it is 2020 after all!), the mind and the soul, all in this edition of MUSE. We end our year with the winners of our Writing Award: Prose & Poetry divisions, as well as the Visual Arts Award winner. They are so wonderful you will be very happy you tuned in.

We begin, as always, with a note from our Chair. We sadly say goodbye to outgoing Chair Dr. Bob Solomon. Great job Dr. Solomon; your wit, expertise, love for the arts and (pun IS intended) wisdom shall all be missed.

We say hello to our new Chair Dr. Seth Collings Hawkins and he says hello to all of you in his From the Chair. I have had the pleasure of knowing Dr. Hawkins now for a number of years and he brings an exuberance and upbeat energy that should be infectious.

This year’s winner of the Visual Arts Award was the beautifully photographed “A Guiding Light” by Jonathan Warren, MD. I feel like the newsletter has been a guiding light for me, always leading me back to the happiness and beauty in what we do as emergency physicians. Jonathan’s photo is actually quite breathtaking. Thank you, and congratulations, Dr. Warren!

This year’s Writing Award/Prose went to Catherine Marco, MD for her extraordinary piece “Travels.” Dr. Marco’s writing is nothing short of captivating in this first-person story that draws you in from the very beginning right through its conclusion. Her travels are those of our kind: emergency physicians. We follow her through the trials and travail we have all experienced, one way or another, as we moved through our personal and professional lives. I feel perfectly confident it would win awards in any creative writing contest it was entered in. I am very pleased that I have it to share with everyone.

This is followed by the always beautiful poetry of Dr. Frank Edwards who is the winner of the 2019 Writing Award/Poetry division. Dr. Edwards has contributed much in the past to these pages, including photography and some really lovely poetry that has reminded me of both TS Eliot and William Carlos Williams with truly his own flair. I am a fan and it’s great to see him take home the best poetry prize. “Nocturne” is in keeping with his past works.

We then are treated visually to photos from Dr. Jason Hack, “Iris,” and Dr. Kay Takenaka, “Testing the Waters.” “Iris” is a marvelous close-up of the flower with fresh rainwater droplets and captures the waning beauty of spring and summer.

“Tempting the Waters” is a wonderful photograph of a brown bear doing just that.

It makes me wonder is this bear is getting ready for winter hibernation and is looking for that last meal. Kudos and thanks to you both for the visual treats!

And we finish up with Dr. Emily Trautner’s piece, “Just Keep Pedaling,” a very nicely written piece about her bicycle commuting. It is thoughtfully written. Dr. Trautner takes us all for a delightful ride with her. It is a very enjoyable ride and I am delighted I can share it with everyone.

We end it all with housekeeping: minutes from the annual section meeting this year in Denver and the annual report.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year & a Joyous Holiday Season to you all.

Peter Paganussi, MD, FACEP