Dr. Oliver Sacks – Physician, Author, Person

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I would like to thank Cynthia Voccio, our Physician Liaison, for bringing this item to my attention.  There are so many stories of brave, insightful people facing this life crisis.  They are published and repeated in lots of places and are frequently rewarding to hear.

This is the story of Oliver Sacks, physician, author, person.  He has entertained us over the years with his poignant tales.  You may recall his titles: Awakenings, The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, and A Leg to Stand On.

I have to gird myself, emotionally, for such tales and now for this letter in the Times.  They are a difficult read if one has any empathy at all.  It takes a certain intestinal fortitude to take in Dr. Sacks’ honest assessment of his current situation.  We tend to shy away from painful stimuli. That is a basic survival technique. Even an amoeba knows to move in the opposite direction from whatever hurts.  However as humans, if we stay in the room, witness our friend’s and family’s struggle and perhaps take our own battles head on we come through them spiritually richer, a little wiser, and much more appreciative. In his case Dr. Sacks reveals that facing the ultimate questions and absorbing the lessons of the most difficult moments is what makes us the most human after all.

Click here to read Dr. Sacks’ letter in the NY Times.

Written by: Susan Dicosola, MS, CMPE – Executive Director

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