Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Listening and fishing

Continuing the topic of my last post, I’ve been reading more of the excellent short stories that won the AMS-Mimi Divinsky awards. I particularly enjoyed two from 2011.

NIcole Audet’s The Power of Listening is about how she helped a medical student learn to listen to her patients. She told her:

“Élise, practising medicine is like fishing. The fish are the patients’ concerns, and they come in the form of physical or psychological symptoms. Your role as a physician is to ask the patient questions in order to catch the fish. To do this, you prepare your tackle. You put the bait on your hook and you cast your line into the water. You let it drop to just the right depth. You wait silently for the fish to bite the hook. Without judgment or threats, you create an atmosphere of trust and you let the patient open up at his own pace.”

Nicole said she was inspired to connect with that student by watching the film Mr. Holland’s Opus. One scene is about that high school music teacher helping a struggling clarinetist, Gertrude Lang, back in 1965. A YouTube video of that scene is here. Decades later Gertrude returns - now as the state governor. (There's a longer version of that finale here).

Throw Me a Line by Pauline Pariser also is about fishing and learning to relax.

The Ear is from Openclipart, and Waiting for a Bite is from Wikimedia Commons.

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