I grew up as an English-speaking minority kid in French Quebec. In high school, we played hockey as if each game was a re-enactment of the Battle of Quebec. The teaching instinct buried deep in my soul led me to physical education and Springfield College in Massachusetts. I spent six years at SC moving from physical education to pre-med courses, to completing a fellowship in comparative anatomy and embryology. Along the way I coached a private school swimming team.
At Springfield College I discovered the world of anatomy. And at the age of eighteen, I bought my first copy of Gray’s Anatomy (the classic text, not the TV show). After Springfield College, I attended the University of
Toronto and graduated with an MD in 1970. By then, I had fallen in love with New England so I completed five years of surgical training at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, MA and have remained there on faculty to this day. Oh, I fell in love with an ICU nurse as well.
Over the years I have attended more writing conferences that some folks have had hot meals. I made my final commitment to learning the craft of writing by completing an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Southern Maine (Stonecoast) in 2006. I had the privilege of working with such writers as Dennis Lehane, James Patrick Kelly, Michael C. White, Tom Perotta, Suzanne Strempeck Shea, David Anthony Durham, Walter Wetherell, Ann Hood, Michael Kimball, and Brad Barkley.
So I devote myself to writing, teaching, and exploring new ideas about patients and their care. How can you improve the quality of your life and assure you and your loved ones receive proper health care? You can participate in your own medical care. You can write about you experiences and grow into your own understanding of the world.
Keep a journal. Write down what you see, feel, think, imagine, and fear. Think about everything from racial disparity in health care to breaches in physician professionalism.
We need innovative ways to survive illness.
DAVID W. PAGE, M.D. is a former Professor of Surgery, Tufts University School of Medicine and former Director of Student Programs in Surgery, Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, MA.
He is a general surgeon with experience in trauma care, critical care medicine and has won numerous teaching awards from Tufts medical students and Baystate surgical residents, including Outstanding Teaching in the Clinical Sciences Award for 2004.
Dr. Page has an MFA degree from the University of Southern Maine and co-wrote Code Blue — a writer’s guide to hospitals, including the ER, OR, and ICU with Keit Wilson, MD.