An introspective look at how the experiences of an intensive care unit physician helped shape his optimistic worldview during a thirty-two-year medical career.
In Blessings and Sudden Intimacies: Musings of a Pediatric Intensivist, Dr. Greg Stidham entertains, inspires, and expresses gratitude for the experiences that have enriched his life. Not only does he reveal many of the extraordinary things he's experienced, but he also opens a way for us to view our own lives as a series of blessings.
Encounters with critically ill and dying children and their parents, present the poignant “sudden intimacies” of the book. The “blessings” refer to the young patients, families and healthcare personnel who touched him. Throughout, he tells of trying to ease, understand and make sense of the suffering of his young patients and their families. But he also balances the serious narrative with funny stories, letting us in on the sort of silly humor that helps a medical staff get through its day.
The book doesn't just cover Dr. Stidham's professional life. Now retired, he intertwines stories from his personal life, too, looking at how experiences at home and work have shaped and influenced each other, and him. He covers topics such as friendships, marriage, birth of children and grandchildren, relocations, health issues, vacations, and travel.
Through it all, the Cleveland native and Kingston, Ontario, resident maintains an optimistic mindset that gave him the empathy and strength needed to sustain a long medical career, most of which was spent at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center and LeBonheur Children's Medical Center in Memphis.
An accomplished writer, Stidham has published a memoir, numerous pieces of short fiction, and creative nonfiction. But his real passion is writing poetry.
Blessings and Sudden Intimacies presents a series of experiences that take readers on a ride along with Dr. Stidham as he comforts, cares, grieves, and comes to understand how one can find blessings in some of life's most difficult times. The stories are told in direct, clear language that brings his patients and their struggles to life in vivid fashion, which helps us find meaning, as he has, in the smallest, most fleeting encounter.