Reality is Reality...d'oh.
August 8, 2010 12:54 PM   Subscribe

The reality of humanity and mortality. People write blogs about everything. Are there great introspective blogs from psychologists / psychiatrists and first-responder EMTs? This may end up a little depressing, so skip it if you're sensitive.

I don't have a death wish, I'm not a goth or emo. I'm a regular person who - as I grow - is increasingly concerned with the immediacy and permanence of death. Mortality.

Like what Waiter Rant did for waiters, I'm interested in a realist perspective of the human mind and body. The more candid the better - what's the point of sugar coating? But I have no desire to see gore. I know that patient privacy will prevent the majority of this from happening, but if it exists, I'd like to be aware. It's going to happen, one way or another. I'd like the perspective of people who are involved.

Books are good but blogs are better; more digestible.

And in advance, I do not need copious recommendations to "see a therapist". Thanks.
posted by carlh to Human Relations (19 answers total) 55 users marked this as a favorite
 
Nee-Naw just stopped publishing yesterday, but there's 5 years of interesting back entries to read.

"Nee Naw is a blog about life in the London Ambulance Service control room."
posted by HopperFan at 1:05 PM on August 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I only have a book recommendation of sorts: have you read How We Die? I just found it again in my bookcase this morning and realized I hadn't ever really tackled it. It came with high praise from a number of sources I trust-- probably time for me to crack it open! It sounds like it might cover a number of the points you are interested in-- check the first review in the link for a fairly comprehensive overview. The description says that the author "examines what death means to the doctor, patient, nurse, administrator, and family".
posted by mireille at 1:05 PM on August 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I found Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers to be comforting in vein similar to what you are seeking.

Think about volunteering at a hospice.
posted by nomadicink at 1:11 PM on August 8, 2010


My Life With Death was a blog by a guy who was a "first responder" of sorts for a funeral home (originally posted here). He quit a few months ago, but the archives are interesting reading.
posted by Gator at 1:12 PM on August 8, 2010


I like this blog about ER work from a nurse's perspective - and a lot of the blogs she notes in the right hand column are great, too:

http://emergency-room-nurse.blogspot.com/
posted by analog at 1:17 PM on August 8, 2010


oops, the other one I mentioned is good too, but I meant this one:

http://torontoemerg.wordpress.com/about-me/
posted by analog at 1:26 PM on August 8, 2010


The author of Random Reality just resigned his ambulance job to go back to nursing, but he has a whole archive of excellent material about his job to look through.
posted by Catseye at 1:32 PM on August 8, 2010


"...Or Not to Be: A Collection of Suicide Notes"
posted by rhizome at 1:34 PM on August 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Trauma Queen is an excellent blog by an EMT in Scotland. Head Nurse is not as emergency-oriented, but there are many musings on mortality.
posted by restless_nomad at 1:36 PM on August 8, 2010


Random Acts of Reality is a blog from an EMT based in London.
posted by fight or flight at 1:45 PM on August 8, 2010


Movin Meat(Shadowfax) is an ER doctor. One problem I've found with many medical/ER/EMT type blogs is that the authors have become very cynical, lost sympathy, and just are generally nasty about their patients. Shadowfax has retained his compassion for those he serves, and frequently writes quite lovely things about helping people deal with their mortality.
posted by hydropsyche at 1:50 PM on August 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


SixYearMed is a great blog by a budding pediatrician.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:02 PM on August 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Coldchef's protected tweet stream is awesome for this. Through him, death intrudes into the trivial, funny, advertising-infested general tweet stream just like it does in real life. The stream can be quite moving, and is almost always thought-provoking. I think he likes you to tell him your Metafilter name and I'm not sure he's opening it to everyone. But give it a shot.
posted by pomegranate at 2:17 PM on August 8, 2010


I recommend tracking down a copy of Frederick Wiseman's "Near Death". Michael Lesy's The Forbidden Zone will also probably be of interest.
posted by ryanshepard at 2:29 PM on August 8, 2010


I really appreciate this question. Here's my suggestion:
In Studs Terkel’s powerful new book, Will the Circle Be Unbroken? a wide range of people address that final experience and its impact on the present in which we live... Interviewing a fascinating variety of people, he is able to come up with an extraordinary range of experience and of belief, all of which prove far more complex than Terkel anticipated.

...From a Hiroshima survivor to an AIDS caseworker, from a death row parolee to a woman who emerged from a two-year coma, these interviewees find an eloquence and grace in dealing with a topic many of us have yet to discuss openly and freely.

Terkel also interviews the vast array of people who confront death in their everyday lives, whether as policemen, firemen, emergency health workers, doctors, or nurses. Many of the most moving interviews deal with AIDS, and how the disease has devastated whole communities and forced people to face death at the young ages we associate with centuries past.
Although you ask for blogs, the interview / oral history aspect of the book keeps it from feeling like a long book of just one person's perspective.
posted by salvia at 4:07 PM on August 8, 2010


In The Gold Coast (to be honest, not my favorite Kim Stanley Robinson book), one of the main characters is an ambulance driver. His wry commentary on his job is one of the best parts of the book. Might be worth a quick read.
posted by salvia at 4:15 PM on August 8, 2010


http://urbanparamedic.blogspot.com/

i think he may have stopped, i haven't read it in forever, but the archives are wonderful. morbid, yes, but very well written.
posted by kpht at 7:03 PM on August 8, 2010


http://brainhell.blogspot.com/ isn't quite what you're looking for, but it's not far; it's the blog of a man dying from ALS, and toward the end, it's a really moving, pained inner-monologue of someone who knows he's about to leave his life and loved ones behind.
posted by namesarehard at 7:15 PM on August 8, 2010


You've asked for blogs - so apologies, here comes a book, which you may already have come across. It's Staring At The Sun by psychotherapist Irvin Yalom, and it reflects both on his old age and thoughts on death and on his experience in assisting clients to come to terms with the prospect. Really, had Yalom been born 30 years later, I'm sure he would have been a blogger - the self-revelation of blogs comes so easily to him in his various writings - but in this instance, what we have is this extraordinary book, alongside his others.

Nthing the late (most regrettably, the late) Studs Terkel too.
posted by pyotrstolypin at 4:20 AM on August 9, 2010


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