Language and Symbolism

Language and Symbolism

Language elucidates shared meaning. It is tool that helps us communicate our internal experiences with others. We admonish our pets when they’ve taken a risk, or whisper lullabies to the howling winds, but words never do quite suffice in capturing the essence of what we mean. Similar to Plato’s musings on forms, Virginia Wolf hints that words are not as True as the ideas or feelings that they intend to represent.

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What's Worth Writing

What's Worth Writing

Too often I’m stewing over my urges to share my thoughts through writing. In the age of information consumerism, it seems like everything has already been said before, so what’s the purpose of me adding to the bombardment of noise? Maybe’s that’s just an intellectualization of my insecurities. There’s also an element of societal conditioning at play that has taught me that my voice is not important. When I open that box to peer a little deeper I find self-deprecating beliefs that undermine my motivation to create and share.

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Astro-Herbal Calendar: Spring 2019

Astro-Herbal Calendar: Spring 2019

Spring begins on the Vernal Equinox, when the Sun crosses the Earth’s equator, and day and night are equal length. The next day, the Sun moves into Aries—the first sign of the zodiac. Here, we begin a season of reawakening, freshness, and opening to new beginnings. Seeds are becoming shoots. We’re tending to ourselves in order to protect our delicate rebirths.

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Opening the Sensory Gates to Expand Perceptive Consciousness

Opening the Sensory Gates to Expand Perceptive Consciousness

I've been learning to be with the plants, receive their messages, and share their therapeutic gifts. It's perceptual work that involves opening the sensory gates that have been manipulated through cultural and political conditioning. If this interests you, I reccomend checking out the writings of Stephen Harrod Buhner, specifically Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm: Beyond the Doors of Perception into the Dreaming of Earth

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Winter Solstice Warmth

Winter Solstice Warmth

My past year has been filled with so many amazing plant encounters that it's difficult to believe that I lived with my attention focused anywhere else over my 30 year lifetime. I often worried about corruption, pollution, and cultural delusion but I had no capacity to integrate my concerns into a functional approach to living. My entire reality changed when the plants called on me to reframe my idea of medicine. Even the word "medicine" has been decomposed and repurposed for a greater good than I could have ever imagined.

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Holistic Herbalism for Health Justice

Holistic Herbalism for Health Justice

Since leaving my residency program in Obstetrics and Gynecology, I have been researching ways to improve the dominant health care system in the United States. I've come to understand that it's necessary to create a better, parallel system that can support health by addressing the colonial roots of sickness. I grew up in a largely white, middle-class, suburban community on Long Island, so training at Downstate was a welcomed experience of checking my own privilege, power, and biases. It was there then I learned to see that wealth and health are not random, and neither are poverty or sickness. Race and gender matter, as does imperialist and capitalist history.

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Corners

Autonomy is how we justify losing our way

when Beneficence breaks our compass or

if Non-malfeasance fails to guide

so we carefully map Informed Consent to prove that we tried.

Emily McDonald, MD

Hello! I'm Emily, in addition to many other things, I am an allopathic doctor that left the health care system to find a better way to care for people and our planet. I no longer practice the kind of medicine we are used to seeing and using in America today - I am cultivating a practice community based herbalism for social justice and environmental harmony. 

Liberty and Justice for All, but Really

Liberty and Justice for All, but Really

More affordable health care would benefit all Americans, but it is misleading to imply that cheaper insurance means healthier lives. The ACA provides concrete benefits and there are opportunities for even greater improvement. For example, it it has been difficult to incentivize young, healthy enrollees to balance the more expensive enrollees. Additionally, there are still millions of undocumented people in this country that need access to basic medical needs, which are not covered under the ACA. 

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His Blood Was Mine

His Blood Was Mine

“Get a med student,” someone said. The chief looked at me with restrained optimism as she nominated me to convert this alleged miscreant to an obedient, trusting patient. Be careful, “This one’s got AIDS.”

While I contemplated which heroic maneuvers of interpersonal savvy might elicit my desired effect, a nurse helped me gather a hazmat bag brimming with supplies: a tourniquet, ethanol wipes, needles, tubes, stickers, gauze, and bandages.

The stench of rotting flesh cloaked me as I entered the room, and like an unbathed woodsman ready for the first hunt of the season, I was thankful for the camouflage. I considered that our patient might be nothing more than a lifeless carcass, surely not a belligerent being.

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Surgical Surprise

Surgical Surprise

It began in the middle of America when two years ago God told her, let’s pretend her name is Mary, that she must “seek medical care.”  Mary had just finishing packing her groceries into the car when out of nowhere she heard a voice that she recognized as God. The voice told her that she needed medical attention. God didn’t tell her why, but only that she needed it. Mary had faith in her creator, so she moved across the country with her daughter to her sister’s apartment to find the best medicine that she could afford.

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Longer Surgery, Greater Risks

Longer Surgery, Greater Risks

Under the American College of Surgeons’ National Surgical Quality Improvement Program from 2005 to 2011, more than 1.4 million patients undergoing surgery at US hospitals were observed to see if lengthier surgery durations would affect the risk of developing a blood clot, or venous thromboembolism (VTE). We’ve known that being bound to a hospital bed (common after surgery) is a risk factor for VTEs, but this is the first evidence that surgery duration is a risk factor as well.

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Kidney Shortage for Transplantation

Kidney Shortage for Transplantation

As of this morning almost 102,000 Americans were waiting for a kidney. If that number doesn’t strike you, then consider that this number is 1/3 of the total number of kidneys ever transplanted in the United States.

Only 15,000 of these 100,000 potential recipients are expected to receive a kidney before the end of the year, which means that 85,000 will still be waiting for surgery come the new year.

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