January 10, 2019

From the Editor

To borrow from a popular HBO series, I think it is safe to say, winter is coming.

The hours of sunlight have dwindled and the temperatures are dropping.

I personally cannot think of a better way to come in from the cold than with this edition of MUSE. I am delighted to share with you a little winter carnival for your mind and soul. This is made possible because of the many talented people in the ACEP Medical Humanities Section.

We begin, as always, with notes from our Chair, Dr. Bob Solomon. He leads us off with an excellent essay on the liberal arts: their meaning, their relevance, and their importance in his life. It is a typical Bob Solomon work: thoughtful, thought provoking, and splendidly written. Thanks, Bob, for all you do for our section.

I deeply share his sentiments on the subject, having a very similar experience in my own youth. I was also trying to trim a few years off leading up to a lengthy graduate and postgraduate medical education. I skipped a couple of grades and by time I woke up in college, 2 years younger than everyone, I realized I needed to slow down a bit and get a more complete education, an education worthy of person who would desire to be called a physician. I have never regretted this decision. I needed to learn write better and to read some of the great works of history. And so I transferred from a rather one-dimensional College of Science and Engineering to a liberal arts college in a larger university. In medical school I learned about anatomy, but in college I learned about Vesalius and his contributions to the history of anatomical learning. In college I read poetry and plays. I studied ethics and some philosophy. Medical school made me a doctor but my liberal arts education has made me a “healer.”

After Dr. Solomon, to get us in the appropriate seasonal mood, we have a visually fascinating photograph entitled Caribou Maine Winter by Kristzina Morin. This was an honorable mention in our Visual Arts Contest and certainly evokes our winter theme. Thank you Kristzina!

The next three works in this edition are most notable and very important to end our year 2018. They are the winners of the Sections’ Writing Awards (ie, one for prose and the other for poetry/verse) and the Visual Arts Award for 2018.

The Poetry Winner this year is Anne Merritt with her wonderfully visual work “Hummingbird.”  Well-crafted imagery, Anne!

This year’s winner of the Writing Award – Prose is Alexandra Godfrey with her eloquent piece “The Stock Yards.” Alexandra also won in 2017 for her beautiful work entitled “Innocence.” Double congratulations are in order ,Alexandra!

The Visual Arts Award went to “Smooth Sailing,” a watercolor, by Nick Sausen. It is truly a joy to gaze upon, Nick. Bravo!

More excellent works to follow with poetry by Marc Elliott Breen entitled “Healing the Hopeless, or Hopelessly Healing?” This was also a Writing Award-Poetry runner-up.  This is followed by a really great piece on one of our favorite ER topics, the frequent flyer. This is quite a different spin on it. It is by Jeff Wade and it is entitled “Ugly Betty.” This is another runner up in the Writing Award-Prose competition. You can see what a tough job the judges had this year as these are all wonderful works.

And we end with a visual feast for the eyes that also, quite fittingly, looks like a feast for the stomach! It is called “Apple of My Eye” and is a beautiful photograph by Mitali Mehta. I thank you one and all for your extraordinary contributions.

We end with some business of the section. First there is the Annual Report of the section and this is followed by the minutes from the annual meeting in San Diego this year.

I also want to remind you to use, and recommend to your friends, the section grant project from last year, Humanities at the Bedside found here.

This winter make sure to stay warm, stay cheery and stay right here for some winter carnival fun for your mind.

Peter Paganussi, MD, FACEP