The Treatment Trail: Sounds of Medicine and Health
A compilation of recordings by students enrolled in the course, Storytelling in Medicine and Health, Fall 2018, at Duke University. These sounds represent and emulate moments in the narratives of those who receive and give care. Throughout our semester together, we strove to better understand the importance of personal narratives in the healthcare setting. We paid attention to the oftentimes overlooked aspects of storytelling in medicine through close readings of narratives and shared the impact of our own medical and health experiences. In composing this Sonic Dictionary Collection, we hope to shed light on another overlooked aspect of medicine and health: the sensory experience of patient and caregiver. The collection includes sounds that capture ecclesial experiences one might have in a hospital, representations of the multitude of activities in Duke research labs, innocuous sounds that permeate each corridor of the hospital, barriers to healthcare delivery, and potential avenues towards improving wellness. The sounds might contribute to further discussions on how one can re-imagine medicine and health in a holistic manner.
The present collection explores sounds in various healthcare settings, ranging from the VA hospital to Duke Hospital’s worship spaces to Duke Children’s Hospital. Other sounds included may represent self care and personal aspects of wellness outside of the hospital, such as boiling water for tea or a sports practice. The collection teaches us about the shared experience of health care, across generations and across religions. Across generations because the sounds in this collection are featured in pediatric, adult, and geriatric spaces, and across religions because the sounds recognize the varied practices of worship that occur in health settings. Unity in health care is not derived from the individual interactions, conversations, but from the collection of sounds contributed to the health space through these individual conversations, acts, actions. We present this collection in hopes that others may listen to the individual pieces and acquire appreciation for their uniqueness and their singularity. We hope the listener can then weave the pieces together to obtain a global understanding of how sound unifies diverse health care spaces and unique definitions of wellness.