Author Archives: slcantwell25

About slcantwell25

A writer focused on the transforming power of memory, autism, parenting, and the ways we know what we know.

Unprecedented collaboration brings hope in a harsh time

COVID-19 will have a profound and permanent impact on how we interact with other people and with the world at large. This really hit home to me a month ago. My son and I were walking our dog Emi—a docile, … Continue reading

Posted in Healthcare Pieces | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Everything Under the Sun

In March 2018, my Uncle Clair had been visiting his son, Jim, in Phoenix and was ready to return to Utah. I offered to fly down to drive back with him so he wouldn’t have to travel alone. My aunt Linda (Clair’s sister) was concerned. He was, after all, in his late eighties. I jumped at the chance to spend time with him, though I knew he was fully capable of making the trip on his own. So, you see, there was a little self interest in my offer. My father, Lee, one of Clair’s younger brothers, had passed away just a few years before. What I had missed more than anything since my father’s death was the chance to talk freely about everything under the sun. Not small talk. But vast conversation with no limits. I knew with my cousin Jim and Uncle Clair that was exactly what would happen. I was desperately hungry for such talk. Continue reading

Posted in From the Notebooks, Travel Sketches | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Being Down in the Weeds

In a photograph circa 1967 my cousin Jim and I endure an interminable family portrait session—I still remember itching in my Sunday clothes. While my sister and I sit passively smiling, my cousin Jim can’t hide his contempt for the … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Annie Dillard’s Fierce Arithmetic

In 1999 Annie Dillard published For the Time Being, her most enigmatic book to date, where she layers statistics in a chilling attempt to pierce the mystery of who we are, as individuals, as humans, and about what matters and … Continue reading

Posted in Celebrations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The long shadow of mental illness and substance abuse comorbidities

My physician neighbor works in several urban emergency departments where mental illness and substance abuse cases run rampant. When I ask him about the impact on readmissions, he lights up: “Are you kidding? It’s off the charts!” He tells me … Continue reading

Posted in Healthcare Pieces | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why you can’t win without teamwork

You’ve probably noticed it’s been a bumpy regulatory ride for bundled payments of late. On November 30, 2017, CMS cancelled two “mandatory” bundled payment programs that targeted cardiac and joint replacement care episodes. Then, on January 9, 2018, they announced … Continue reading

Posted in Healthcare Pieces | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

When hospital-acquired infections hit close to home

Late one night in April 2018, my good friend and work associate finds it so difficult to breathe she wakes her husband to drive her to Emergency. One day she’s on her feet at work, the next she’s in the … Continue reading

Posted in Healthcare Pieces | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Artificial Intelligence and Clinical Data: Finding Patterns Now to Shape Our Future

My oldest son is on the autism spectrum which brings him both challenges and unique skills, such as perfect pitch and encyclopedic memory. One of his gifts is an ability to see patterns that most of us miss. At least … Continue reading

Posted in Healthcare Pieces | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Man on the Train

You may have seen him—the man on the commuter train to Los Angeles—leaning over his laptop, glasses slipping down his nose, wired in, absorbed, on deadline, not to be disturbed. Because he wears a suit and tie, you may assume … Continue reading

Posted in Celebrations | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Sorrows of Physicist Max Planck

Consider for a moment the sorrows of Max Planck, the theoretical physicist who originated quantum theory. In 1909, his wife, Marie Merck, died of tuberculosis. In 1914, his son, Erwin, was taken prisoner by the French during the First World … Continue reading

Posted in From the Notebooks, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment