Jeff Brown’s Blog: “Reading Allowed”

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15 December 2015:  Recall the joy of reading aloud, to a child. Weaving fantasy from the page into their reality with words soft and sweet. Sounds carrying their own meaning, maybe more than the bald story. Not getting away with turning two pages to get to the end too fast. The wonder of discovery at the pace of a rhyme.

Remember growing up to realise you didn’t know everything about everything, that you would have to read to learn, to regurgitate. Screeds and screeds. Fast reading. Skimming. Fast enough to disconnect the speaking brain from the scanning brain. Cramming. And always slipping behind the accumulating data of medical progress.

Then as you mature, swimming in the saturated swamp of consultation, over everything, within millimonth timeframes, struggling to have any chance of shifting the system you inhabit.

Oh, the pleasure of spending time with a patient. Of slowing down to listen to their story, to focus on the particular of what matters to them. To calibrate their tale against your held beliefs, our medical myths and shibboleths. To translate your mindmap into their language, to offer hope disguised as miracles. Then listen again to reflect on whether they have truly believed in the magic you have offered.

You have written down their stories in histories. You have recorded your stories in differentials and management plans. You have documented how you have delved deep into their molecules, muscles and mind. And between the cracks you may have discovered again the joy of slow reading, of moving your lips while you savour the story that inspires you to write outside the medical file.

That you may shyly wish to share with this young project that may lead to who knows where. To allow others to read, aloud.

Humbly yours,

Jeff Brown

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