Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Grand Rounds

Volume 2, Number 44: The Garden

Welcome to our garden. We’ve gathered together a multicoloured collection of species from all over the world. We’re interested here at Medical Humanities in artistic and literary metaphor which is why we’ve chosen gardening as our theme this week. So often matters medical are portrayed in the language of war: the fight against disease, the battle against cancer. These are the metaphors that have dominated medical discourse in the mainstream media. Yet, the military metaphor is not inevitable. Health-care professions tend their patients with the devotion and attention that gardeners lavish on their plants, hoping to keep them healthy. Medical Anthropologist Cecil Helman demonstrates in this narrative, ‘Possession’, the parallels between illness and a breakdown of order, as if in a garden overgrown with weeds. Our blogs, of course, are also little patches of territory, requiring cultivation and maintenance, and facilitating cross-fertilisation of ideas. We hope you enjoy a virtual tour through our 'Grand Grounds'.

The Knot Garden

Whether in Medieval, Renaissance or Contemporary times, the Knot Garden has always been characterised by intricate design detail. Like well-designed horticultral reports, the compartments of these gardens told their own stories through plant and pattern.

  • Over at Breath Spa For Kids Shinga reports in song on the effects of pollution on children's lungs. A Buteyko Breathing practitioner and CapnoTrainer (biofeedback) trainer, Shinga raises awareness of the effects of pollution on our children. The statistics are frightening.
  • The impact of the environment upon our health is taken indoors in Andrew Barna's report at Hospital Impact. Barna's survey of the 2006 Industrial Design Excellence Awards, gives particular mention to the Medical and Scientific Products category. The Insulet Omnipod Personal Diabetes Management System strikes me as a cross between a mobile phone and an IPOD. Products like these look familiar. Perhaps that sense of familiarity makes them easier to use.
  • The precision of the Knot Garden must require a manual, or perhaps a good gardening program, to guide the gardener through the maze of planting, pruning and weeding. In a similar way, Grey's Anatomy (starring Ellen Pompeo and Sandra Oh) guides the medical student. Or does it? At My Life, My Pace, we get a student's take on 'school, lab and life' and find out house Grey's Anatomy misguides students about the training and lifestyles of surgeons.
  • Sitting in a quiet corner of the Knot Garden we have time and space to contemplate and wonder. Rica Lode's poem at Genetics and Health concerns her frustration in trying to find pre-implantation diagnosis for neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1), from which her husband suffers.
  • Talking RN presents us with some poignant thoughts on invasive brain fungal infection. They "sang ... in five-part harmony then they prayed". This is surely Talking RN's reflective side.
[Picture courtesy of http://www.bannut.co.uk/images/knot1.jpg]

The Flower Garden

The Flower Garden always puts on a good show! Yet, who knows what lurks beneath the borders and bushes, what disease might spread unbounded?

  • Ideas for Women considers the therapeutic value of art in coping with breast cancer. Blogger Trisha explores the idea that expressing emotion through visual art and music brings healing.
  • At Unbounded Medicine Dr Jon Mikel Inarritu presents us with biomedical images. Looking at an image of human colon cancer cells, he remarkes, is beautiful and bad at one and the same time.
  • The wonderful image of a rollercoaster, 'delivered' to us at Navelgazing Midwife, doesn't exactly hide something bad behind the beautiful. Rather, what we have is a strangely apt analogy for birth and parenthood in a photograph of a fun fare ride. How come? Well, sometimes you laugh, sometimes you cry and you have little choice but to go with the flow and enjoy the ride!

The Gazebo

This is the place to relax and chat about interesting cases. We've assembled a group of bloggers here who, sundowners in hand, all have stories to tell about incidents this week that have meant something to them.

[Picture courtesy of http://lilithlotr.ejwsites.net/2003calendar/hobbits-rivendell.jpg]

The Physic Garden

Created in the pursuit of research of the properties, conservation and origins of plants, and to train apprentices in plant identification, the Physic Garden represents the technical side of our submissions.

[Picture courtesy of http://mindthegap.se/chelsea%20physic%20garden.JPG]

The Kitchen Garden

Growing your own fruit and veg can be both nutritious and fulfilling – here we take a look at the role of nutrition and medicine.

[Picture courtesy of http://www.nyccompost.org/illustrations/tomato.gif]

The Potting Shed

The potting shed is the space where growth is acknowledged. Medical knowledge is accumulative, and often this involves adapting our ideas to accommodate new developments. It is like selecting an appropriate new pot for a growing seedling.

  • Tara Smith at Aetiology tells of new research into biofilms that helps explain why antibiotic treatment is so often unsuccessful in ear infections.
  • Garden insects can be helpful or harmful: a similar ambiguity is highlighted by Corpus Callosum who looks at whether genetically modified mosquitoes could be key to controlling disease.
  • Few of us may have heard of COPD but Shinga over at Breath Coach says that this pulmonary disease is on the increase and deserves more attention.

  • [Picture courtesy of http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/1020000/images/_1023527_bill150.jpg]

    The Herbaceous Border

    Hospitals and gardens have something major in common: beds.

    [Picture courtesy of http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~gdk/stabotanic/jpegs/herbbord4.jpg]

    The Greenhouse

    In the Greenhouse you can grow specimens in specialised conditions. The blogs in this section are revealing of cultural differences and show the value of different perspectives.

    [Picture courtesy of http://www.thefineartcompany.co.uk/photos/kew-gardens-prints.jpg]

    The Walled Garden

    There are many taboos in medicine akin to walled areas to which access is restricted. One of the consequences of the rise of blogging is that previously unspoken of areas have been opened up to debate. Bloggers break down walls and provide alternative voices to those in the mainstream media.

    [Picture courtesy of http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/whereilive/coast/images/

    The Tool Shed

    Tinkering in the tool shed is a pastime for some, but when does tinkering become meddling?

    • Fixin’ Healthcare suggests a less technical approach to medicine.
    • Depending on technology makes Nurse Dan uneasy

    The Arboretum

    Depression and anxiety can feel like one is lost in a forest of conflicting moods and emotions.

    • In her new blog Alone, 18-year-old Jessica describes how she hopes blogging will help her cope with her depression.

    [Picture courtesy of http://www.terradaily.com/images/tree-rings-bg.jpg]

    The Garden Path

    The garden should be a safe place, but sometimes dangers lurk...

    [Picture courtesy of http://www.andreyyanev.com/Oil%20on%20canvas/A%20path-50x40.jpg]

    This blogging bouquet was brought to you by cross-continental collaboration between Giskin, AJ and Beth. Thank you to all the contributors and to Nick who makes the Grand Rounds grand. Next week's Rounds will be hosted by Inside Surgery.

    [All unreferenced pictures are from AJ's own garden.]


    Anonymous said...

    This is absolutely beautiful.

    Just beautiful.

    Anonymous said...

    i love this issue, not just because of the entries, but mostly because of the way you put them together. i love the snippets you've put to introduce each section. it's so conducive for reading, like a garden should be!

    a marvelous job!

    Anonymous said...

    Lovely imagery! Perfect for summer in London. BTW, I love Bill and Ben. :)

    Anonymous said...

    This editios is amazing.
    Congratulations and thanks for hosting.

    Unknown said...

    What a fabulous range of images! It is also a welcome reminder to go and re-visit the Physic Garden and the Geffrye Museum.

    As a keen gardener, I thoroughly enjoyed the notes and snippets of gardening lore. Plus the visit to the potting shed - if that isn't too Stella Gibbons (but then, that might have been woodshed rather than potting shed).

    Thanks for all thw work that went into this.

    Regards - Shinga

    Rita - Supporting Safer Healthcare said...

    Anyone who has ever gardened knows how much work it can be. Your garden must have taken considerable effort, but what a pleasure we now have in strolling through, enjoying the variety.

    Anonymous said...

    What a great job! It's beautiful AND interesting. WoW.

    Thanks very much for hosting this week!

    Dr. Deb said...

    Lovely, creative and, as always, informative. Well done!


    Anonymous said...

    Haven't read through all of it yet, but the theme - what you wrote at the beginning - so excellent! I am impressed. Thanks for hosting this week! Best wishes, Jenni Prokopy

    The Tundra PA said...

    What a beautifully creative job you've done here! Wow! Can't wait to take my laptop and stroll through the garden...the flowers smell wonderful...and the birds, so lively...what an excellent Grand Rounds; thank you for hosting.

    ipanema said...

    Such beautiful theme, very English indeed. I'll have to wander and choose in which garden to get lost in. This is another original presentation, good read. Thanks.

    Artemis said...

    What a terrific job -- thanks for the imagery and comparisons. I'll look forward to more in the future.

    aj said...

    Thanks for all your lovely comments! It totally makes the hard work worthwhile and gave me that warm fuzzy feeling when I returned from the sweltering wards today.

    HP said...

    I love this presentation. Beautiful images and interesting lead in to each section. Very conducive to reading.

    *off to potter in the greenhouse*

    Jessica said...

    Great job!!

    Thanks for including me, I wasn't sure you would. :)

    Keith "Nurse Keith" Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC said...

    What a visually stunning and creative edition of GR! Thanks for the time and energy which went into this superlative carnival which satisfies all of the senses in one way or another.....

    The Tundra PA said...

    Much great reading, I have just finally finished all but two: there were two mistakes that I wonder if you could correct. In the Greenhouse, Warrior Mom's link goes to Borneo Breezes; In the Arboretum, Alone's link goes to Addiction, Anxiety and Depression Treatments. Thanks. And great job.

    Sumer Sethi said...

    Breathtaking!! Congrats Great work...

    Warrior Mom said...

    Beautiful. Thank You for including my submission. This is the correct link: http://warriormom.blogspot.com/2006/07/paris.html

    Kerri. said...

    Thank you very much for featuring my post. The garden pictures are breath-taking (and I really enjoyed the Hobbits, as well!). Wonderful job.

    Thanks again!

    -- Kerri.

    Jessica said...

    Here's the link to mine:



    Unknown said...

    Thanks, all, for your lovely comments. I have (hopefully) fixed the links now -- apologies for that glitch.

    marcus said...

    Very imaginative presentation. Thanks for including me.

    Sorry to appear meddling but it is a point of view that needs to be considered. There is no medical intervention on the scene or in the works that beats primary prevention.

    MICU RN said...

    Yay-- just great! Thanks for the time and effort this obviously took to put together so beautifully.

    Anonymous said...

    I'm late to the party, but this is astonishingly beautiful. The bar has definitely been raised for visual presentation. Bravo!

    Beth Williamson said...

    Thanks one and all! It has been great to be a part of this and I look forward to a long and happy collaboration between art and medicine.

    Anonymous said...

    I read your blog and found it quite interesting not to mention amusing. Thanks for the break from life.