At the age of nine, Jamie Trower suffered a traumatic brain injury. He spent months in a coma, and two subsequent years living in the Wilson Centre in Auckland undergoing rehabilitation. In 2015 he published Anatomy, a powerful collection of poetry which chronicles his changed life. Jamie explains how entering the ‘separate cosmos’ of poetry helped him find a way home to himself. [Read more…]
Seething in the Gordian knot: a view of 2015’s Man Booker-nominated novel, A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara.
A Little Life is a big book, a hefty tome of over 700 pages. But the length is important, because this is a story about pain, and stories about pain take time. What doctor hasn’t felt the competing pressures of already running late, an ever-filling waiting room, and the current patient just beginning to find a way to explain what hurts? Yanagihara gives Jude St Francis, her main character, plenty of time. Page by page, the reader enters an increasingly privileged relationship with this injured man. Very gradually we begin to understand that not only does Jude have wounds, he is a wound. Worse, he is a wound that cannot heal. The reader’s deepening access, over time, to Jude’s ‘little life’ (past and present) thus parallels the position of a doctor in a long-term doctor-patient relationship—except that as a reader it’s possible to put the book down for a while and take a break from the relentless suffering it describes. [Read more…]
Dr Joe Baker
Lifestyle advice given to all patients: “Exercise is good for you! Thirty minutes a day for five days a week. That’s the recommended minimum. Enough to make you a bit puffy. An hour every day is even better but there are diminishing returns.”
I often ask my patients, “Have you seen 23½ Hours?” The inevitable reply: “Is that about the guy who falls down the crevice and has to cut off his leg?” “No,” I say, “that’s 127 Hours, and it was his arm. And although there are probably some very serious health messages in that feature film, 23½ Hours is a very watchable ten minute video about the benefits of exercise. Exercise helps almost any medical condition.” I am careful not to say it helps ALL conditions; there are few absolutes in medicine. I show them the link on the computer: [Read more…]
The title of this article may conjure images of the ill and infirm physically urging the grim reaper to leave forthwith, but in fact it refers to the transcendental power of dance. “With these gestures, we somehow defy death” was a statement made by a participant in a dance project called ‘Circle of Life’, which I facilitated during my tenure as the 2008 Caroline Plummer Fellow in Community Dance at the University of Otago. For this project I invited people living with cancer to create and perform a dance. This article summarises the experience, and examines the link between health care and the somatic movement discipline of dance. [Read more…]
Corpus is a forum for conversations about medicine and life. We publish a wide range of perspectives about health and medical practice, especially reflective or creative work which fleshes out the biomedical version of illness and disability.
Corpus is co-edited by University of Otago historian Professor Barbara Brookes and writer Sue Wootton.
The website will officially launch on Monday 30 May 2016 with 4 articles. Thereafter new articles will be published weekly on Mondays.
Please subscribe to Corpus to receive notifications of all new articles published.
Read more about Corpus.