August 31st, 2007

Weekend Reading

Another week gone, and, for those of us in the US, a three-day weekend to look forward to. Just a few more hours to go…

Three days should give all of us a chance to catch up on some reading, and with that in mind here are a few items that you may have missed:

Paul Levy at Running a Hospital held a poetry reading of sorts earlier this week featuring verse by doctors and nurses. Each poem offers a poignant observation of what life is like for the men and women who provide health care, and they reminded me of how personally invested each is in the treatment of their patients. I particularly liked this poem:

By Warner V. Slack, MD

Next to Children’s Hospital, in a hurry
Down the stairs, two at a time
Slowed down by a family, moving slowly
Blocking the stairway, I’m in a hurry
I stop, annoyed, I’m in a hurry
Seeing me, they move to the side
A woman says softly, “sorry” in Spanish
I look down in passing, there’s a little boy
Unsteady in gait, holding onto an arm
Head shaved, stitches in scalp
Patch over eye, thin and pale
He catches my eye and gives me a smile
My walk is slower for the rest of the day


Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt has entered the blogosphere witih a blog that highlights things that he “learned or experienced during the day.” He has recently been posting about his trip through Africa, and his descriptions of the different health care systems, clinics and people he encounters provide the kind of perspective and insight that news reports typically lack.

It feels personal and is written in a conversational tone. In fact, in his first post, he said something that struck home with me as an avid (and some would say obsessed) Blackberry user:


I expect some of my entries may only be a paragraph or two punched out on my Blackberry while traveling in a car or waiting in an airport. Anybody who uses a similar device understands the efficiency and the limitations (No spell check, for example).


As someone who has “punched” out the odd post on the Blackberry, I certainly understand its limitations — as well as the need to double check spelling and punctuation! (Thanks to the Health Care Law Blog for pointing this development out. )


I’ll leave you with a post that Margaret Gurowitz at Kilmer House made on yet another little-known episode from Johnson & Johnson’s past — the company’s brief foray into the cola business. The product, Vino Kolafra:

…was recommended for athletes, bicyclists (cycling was a popular hobby back then, too), for the weak and overworked, for people convalescing from an illness, for those with weak hearts, as a brain stimulant and nerve tonic, for hay fever, to ward off fatigue and relieve nervous strain, as a cure for drunkenness (especially remarkable, considering the sherry base!), as a reliever of melancholia and nervous depression, to give troops stamina on forced marches, and more.


Sounds like some potent stuff. Who would have thought that at one time Johnson & Johnson competed with The Coca-Cola Company!

One Response to “Weekend Reading”

  1. Mother Jones, RN says

    I’m sorry to hear that J&J didn’t stay in the soda business. I love cola, and I’m sure that we are missing out on some really cool ads. Imagine a Super Bowl ad that showcases famous football players and bikini-clad babes sucking down J&J soda while frolicking on a beach. The guys are slathering the girls in J&J sunscreen while the announcer talks about the great taste of J&J soda. Sun, surf, sexy woman, glistening bodies; too bad, J&J, you missed out on a Clio Award.

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