Quotes by: Abraham Verghese
My writing flows out of my doctorhood. They are not separate things. They are one. I think the foremost connection between being a doctor and being a writer is the great privilege of having an intimate view of one's fellow humans, the privilege of being there and helping other people at their most vulnerable moments.
We're now able to show that the words of comfort trigger biological reactions which are the very things that you want, and you can use drugs to get there, or you can use words of comfort to get there, which would make your drugs so much more effective.
In America, we have always taken it as an article of faith that we 'battle' cancer; we attack it with knives, we poison it with chemotherapy or we blast it with radiation. If we are fortunate, we 'beat' the cancer. If not, we are posthumously praised for having 'succumbed after a long battle.'
Medicine may be the lens through which I see the world, but since I think of medicine as 'life +', a place where life is exaggerated and seen at its most vital and poignant, I'll be writing about life more than I will be writing about medicine.
My sense is that the wonderful technology that we have to visualize the inside of the body often leaves physicians feeling that the exam is a waste of time and so they may shortchange the ritual.
I'm a proud American - becoming a citizen in 1988 was one of the most profoundly moving occasions in my life; I'm a former Texan and a recent Californian.
You can't show up at the bedside and then turn on your skills. You have to keep your game sharp all the time.
Students undergo a conversion in the third year of medical school - not pre-clinical to clinical, but pre-cynical to cynical.
There is that lovely feeling of one reader telling another, 'You must read this.' I've always wanted to write a book like that, with the sense that you are contributing to the discourse in middle America, a discourse that begins at a book club in a living room, but then spreads. That is meaningful to me.
For one who has an interest in the body as text, airports are treasure troves of information. It seems almost un-American to enjoy delays, and perhaps enjoy is not the best word, but certainly a delayed flight, if it does nothing else, allows one the opportunity to make prolonged observations about one's fellow travelers.
I think legislation needs to put an end to doctors profiting on businesses to which they can funnel patients - that is business, not medicine. If you try to call it medicine, then it is corruption. Without legislation, it will keep happening.
Lest it sound as if I resent my day job, I have to say that my day job is the reason I write, and it has been the best thing for me as a writer.
I'm the first to admit that the resolution of a hand feeling the belly doesn't compare with the resolution of a CAT scan scanning the belly, but only my hand can say that it hurts at this spot and not at this spot. Only my hand can say that.
There are moments as a teacher when I'm conscious that I'm trotting out the same exact phrase my professor used with me years ago. It's an eerie feeling, as if my old mentor is not just in the room, but in my shoes, using me as his mouthpiece.
Rituals, anthropologists will tell us, are about transformation. The rituals we use for marriage, baptism or inaugurating a president are as elaborate as they are because we associate the ritual with a major life passage, the crossing of a critical threshold, or in other words, with transformation.
My desire to be a physician had a lot to do with that sense of medicine as a ministry of healing, not just a science. And not even just a science and an art, but also a calling, also a ministry.
When you have a natural genetic tan developed over centuries and many generations, the idea of soaking up rays by the pool has never made sense.
I've never bought this idea of taking a therapeutic distance. If I see a student or house staff cry, I take great faith in that. That's a great person; they're going to be a great doctor.
The incredible cinematography makes 'A Walk to Beautiful' almost like a poem; there is a tenderness on display that seems to emanate from the camera. There is also great sensitivity to the women whose stories are being told - never did I have a sense of the subjects being exploited.