Summary of “How Do You Talk to Your Patients About Death?”

Instead of admitting patients from the emergency room and addressing all of their medical problems throughout their hospital stay, I saw patients only when another doctor requested a consultation for a patient, usually to treat certain symptoms and to talk with patients and families about their treatment goals-what patients considered most important and dear to them when living with a serious illness.
I’d gone from assuming that many of my patients would live for years after their hospital stays to knowing that some of my patients would die within the coming weeks or months after returning home.
“No, it’s your first day! So on our team we have two nurses and an attending physician and me. Everyone usually shows up for rounds at 9:30 or so, and we will talk about each of the patients on our list. The attending this month is Dr. Harris, and she’ll assign you a few patients to see. Oh, and you’ll need that,” she said, motioning to a pager on the corner of my cubicle.
Businesslike and efficient as she introduced herself, Dr. Harris told me that her day was packed with meetings, but that she would assign me several patients to see and we would talk about them later in the afternoon.
Almost all of our patients required family meetings, and some also required better control of pain.
The biggest shift was my new relationship to language, my attention newly focused on the words I used with patients and colleagues, and the words I heard them use.
“Take note of how long the oncology fellow talks before allowing the family to speak.” The oncologist, a brown-haired man with a kind face, spoke for twenty-five minutes about the gravity of the patient’s diagnosis, the chemotherapies that theoretically could be used, and all the reasons why the patient was too sick to qualify for them.
A patient with a failing liver asked me how much time I thought he had to live and begged me not to mince my words.

The orginal article.

Summary of “I Was 35 When I Discovered I’m on the Autism Spectrum”

A Danish study published in January 2015 suggests that diagnoses of autism are more frequent because of a broadening of diagnostic criteria over the years, meaning there could be generations of people with autism spectrum disorder who were never diagnosed.
I’d pulled myself out of those spirals before they became too serious.
If a doctor told me I’d never be “Normal,” that my strangeness was something pathological, would that be the excuse I needed to turn into a complete lump?
There were all the times I’d walk away from an encounter with someone new with the overwhelming feeling I’d done something wrong and had no idea what it was.
If someone did get mad at me, I’d obsess over it, frozen in a moment of shame and self-hatred long after the other person had let it go.
Worst of all was that I couldn’t feel excited on almost any level – I’d sit through TV shows and movies like a stone.
For most of my life, I’d been afraid discovering I was on the spectrum meant I was cut off from being able to maintain friendships, professional contacts, a romantic connection.
In August 2015, Dr. P explained, slowly and with caution, that she was moving out of state to join a new practice and to be closer to family, so I’d need to change therapists, and that she’d help with the transition.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What It Felt Like When “Cat Person” Went Viral”

I tried to explain to her what was happening, and then she went online herself and, at some point, she said, “Oh, my God, Kristen, someone Barack Obama follows just retweeted your story.” Then she burst into tears.
The story is told in the close third person, and much of it is spent describing Margot’s thought process as she realizes that she does not want to have sex with Robert but then decides, for a variety of reasons, to go through with it anyway.
I received many in-depth descriptions, from men, of sexual encounters they’d had, because they thought I’d “Just like to know.” I got e-mails from people I hadn’t talked to in years who wondered if I’d noticed that my story had gone viral.
I’d wanted people to be able to see themselves in the story, to identify with it in such a way that its narrative scaffolding would disappear.
Perhaps inevitably, as the story was shared again and again, moving it further and further from its original context, people began conflating me, the author, with the main character.
This isn’t true, even if you haven’t had a story go viral.
Here’s the catch: when you read a story I’ve written, you’re not thinking about me-you’re thinking as me.
After “Cat Person” went viral, I sold my first book, a story collection.

The orginal article.

Summary of “I’m a Great Cook. Now That I’m Divorced, I’m Never Making Dinner for a Man Again”

I collected recipes, printing them out and dutifully making notes in the margins of how many stars he gave them and any feedback he had-too oniony, too garlicky, too spicy, not enough meat.
I’d slow-cook stew and portion it off into little bags, leaving notes that instructed how to defrost, how to reheat.
“Just come home with a rotisserie chicken or a pile of one-dollar hamburgers from McDonald’s, anything.”
In the tangle of performance and purpose, in my quest to make a home and love, I had created elaborate offerings, which were consumed and judged, and yet afforded me no redemption, no grace, no more than four out of five stars.
Then I’d come home, get the kids ready for school, drop them off, and come back to the house and cry.
I stopped cooking because I wanted to feel as unencumbered as man walking through the door of his home with the expectation that something had been done for him.
I wanted to be free of cutting coupons and rolling dough and worrying about dinner times and feeding.
He didn’t stop asking what was for dinner until I moved out.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Age Appropriate”

Who said being a parent was required in terms of contributing to society? I had plenty to offer kids; I wanted them in my life, even if they weren’t mine.
Frozen in my parents’ belief systems about me were at least three views: I was bad with money, I was extremely sensitive and probably needed to develop a thicker skin, and, most generally and undeniably, I was forever who I used to be, the teenager under their roof, even when there was a new roof above our ongoing dance of parent-child dynamics.
My parents treated me alternately like I was a child and an adult, feeding me and then telling me things I didn’t want to know.
My parents treated me alternately like I was a child and an adult, feeding me and then telling me things I didn’t want to know, about various ailments, or their relationship, or how something I was doing wasn’t the way they’d do it.
No matter how old I got, we were always somewhere between a friend relationship and the relationship of parent and child.
My parents would listen and try to advise, but it would inevitably sting: “You can’t just work, you need to make time for other things, too,” my dad would say, at the same time that I was thinking, “I only have to work harder! I can’t do anything but work! You just don’t understand!”.
The practical parent, he pointed out the obvious – where would the kittens go while I was still in the Airbnb? His daughter would be renting an apartment in the city with three strangers in the fall.
In the end, we did not get the kittens for innumerable totally legitimate reasons, and because of that, and everything else – the difficulty of being whatever age you are, when you’re in it, the neverending push-pull of want and need and can and can’t, the parental yes and the parental no – the next day, I found Ezra’s daughter crying in the kitchen, her head on his shoulder, much the same way I’d cried with my own parents a couple of weeks before.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Country pride: what I learned growing up in rural America”

Roughly speaking, on one side of the rift was the place I was from – laborers, workers, people filled with distrust for the systems that had been ignoring and even spurning them for a couple decades.
On the other side were the people who run those systems – basically, people with college funds who end up living in cities or moving to one of the expensive coasts.
Even at a midwestern state university, my background – agricultural work, manual labor, rural poverty, teen pregnancies, domestic chaos, pervasive addiction – seemed like a faraway story to the people I met.
The distance between my world and my country’s understanding of it had been growing because so few people from my place ever ended up on a college campus to tell its stories.
Something had changed my people politically in the 20 years since my then teenage mom had voted for Jimmy Carter when I was an infant, the year Reagan won.
“Democrats help people, and Republicans help people help themselves.”
The people I’d grown up with were missing that information.
The liberal people I met in college often were missing another sort of information: what it feels like to pee in a cup to qualify for public benefits to feed your children.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Elaina Plott: The Bullet in My Arm”

If people in Tuscaloosa talked about gun violence at all-in the wake of a mass shooting, or after the rare hunting accident-it was as an unfortunate but explicable bit of collateral damage: Occasionally cars hit people, but we still drive.
Did the person who shot me buy the weapon there? How long did the sale take? I pictured him-he is faceless in my mind, but always a man-selecting a gun, and then tossing in a pack of Dentyne Ice, because it was right there by the cash register, and why not.
Knee-jerk calls for gun control didn’t resonate with me.
Back in Washington, I’d spent months talking with Republican lawmakers who bristled at the notion of “Commonsense solutions” to gun violence.
“There’s a certain maturity level required for guns, in general, and especially with something like [an AR-15]. Some people probably shouldn’t have them.”
In all the times I’ve talked with GOP lawmakers about guns, why have they never mentioned that age restrictions are, for many conservatives, a worthwhile starting point? Better question: Do they even know?
Earlier in the trip, I’d watched as the guys in the store had handled guns.
We were comfortable in the ATV, talking about our 10-year plans-I didn’t have one; he thought that was risky-the gun and the Labrador resting between us.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Ramona Shelburne on living pregnancy and motherhood out loud”

You’re not supposed to lose out on opportunities in the enlightened, post-“Lean In” workplace, but let’s be real.
No, the one thing I connected with deeply from watching Serena’s journey was how empowering it was to see a woman live a vulnerable period of her life out loud.
There were times I had to raise my hand to come out of the game and risk whatever consequences came with that.
I’d earned that respect, and rather than take the easier way out by pulling me out of the rotation, I could sit out of writing on Game 3 and come back for Game 4.
Later, after LeBron committed to the Lakers, I had to text my SportsCenter producer, Hilary Guy, and say I had about 45 minutes in me, but then I had to get out of the chair and lie down.
In college, I’d watch our football team on my way out to the softball field for practice.
A player would get hurt, and everything would stop for 30 seconds or so while the trainers checked him out.
What I’m asking is why do those “Consequences” have to be negative? Can we open ourselves to the idea that living out loud and standing behind your choice to have a family – or not to have a family – might actually make a woman stronger, more powerful and better at what she does?

The orginal article.

Summary of “On Not Being Able to Read”

There’s a specific mechanism by which legal culture, especially within the law school, transforms these sacrifices into virtue.
Early in the program, law students are introduced to the case method, the cornerstone of legal pedagogy.
Any legal argument is bound by law’s incremental development: you cannot make a point without citing its precedent in previous cases.
Though students have to take a certain number of black-letter law courses to fulfill the dictates of the degree, I skated by on the bare minimum, loading my plate instead with ones that took law itself as an object of study: Law and Literature, Racial Politics and the Law, Statutes and Statutory Interpretation.
In the first year of law school, students are enrolled in a mandatory course on Legal Research and Writing.
If you’ve abandoned the idea of legal practice, you’re left with a mix of skills and affects that the profession will tell you is bad currency; among lawyers, common sense is that you don’t go to law school if you don’t want to become one of them.
In adopting the law’s structure but refusing its closure, Williams steals the law’s own resources to produce a vicious critique of its logic.
In collaboration with a like-minded professor, I developed the Race and Law reading group, an interdisciplinary gathering based in the Faculty of Law.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Track Your Time for 30 Days. What You Learn Might Surprise You.”

Inspired by a colleague, the time management expert Laura Vanderkam, I decided to spend the month of February tracking exactly how I spent my time, down to half-hour increments.
In my time-tracking exercise, I counted my time under multiple categories if it legitimately filled both criteria.
I might spend more time socializing than some – I live in a city, and I don’t have kids – but the same principle of building overlapping personal and professional circles holds no matter how many hours per week you have to devote.
Certain hours of the day are especially likely to be “Wasted.” I don’t waste much time on social media.
During the times when I did fall into the social media rabbit hole, a clear pattern emerged: It almost always occurred between 10 PM and 11 PM. Despite recent questions about the accuracy of Roy Baumeister’s seminal theory of ego depletion, it certainly seemed to be the case for me that I was most susceptible to distraction at that time, when I was worn down from the demands of the day but not tired enough to sleep.
It’s also not overwhelming, and well under the amount of time I allocated each day to pure client work, networking and time with friends, and even reading.
Without data, it’s easy to paint an erroneous picture of how we spend our time, whether it’s inadvertently exaggerating the number of hours we work or assuming we’re wasting more time than we really do.
My month of time tracking revealed useful insights that have enabled me to become more productive – and if you make an effort to evaluate your schedule, it may highlight ways you can optimize moving forward as well.

The orginal article.