Pray tell us, what's your favorite number?"... "Shiva jumped up to the board, uninvited, and wrote 10,213,223"... "And pray, why would this number interest us?" "It is the only number that describes itself when you read it, 'One zero, two ones, three twos, two threes'.— Abraham Verghese
The most colorful Abraham Verghese quotes that will add value to your life
When I wake to the gift of yet another sunrise my first thought is to rouse him and say, I owe you the sight of morning.
I think we learn from medicine everywhere that it is, at its heart, a human endeavor, requiring good science but also a limitless curiosity and interest in your fellow human being, and that the physician-patient relationship is key; all else follows from it.
A rich man's faults are covered with money, but a surgeon's faults are covered with earth.
Tell us please, what treatment in an emergency is administered by ear?".
...I met his gaze and I did not blink. "Words of comfort," I said to my father.
What we need in medical schools is not to teach empathy, as much as to preserve it. The process of learning huge volumes of information about disease, of learning a specialised language, can ironically make one lose sight of the patient one came to serve; empathy can be replaced by cynicism.
The most important innovation in medicine to come in the next 10 years: the power of the human hand.
You are an instrument of God. Don't leave the instrument sitting in its case, my son. Play! Leave no part of your instrument unexplored. Why settle for 'Three Blind Mice' when you can can play the 'Gloria'? No, not Bach's 'Gloria.' Yours! Your 'Gloria' lives within you. The greatest sin is not finding it, ignoring what God made possible in you.
Though I am fascinated by knowledge, I am even more fascinated by wisdom.
Students undergo a conversion in the third year of medical school - not pre-clinical to clinical, but pre-cynical to cynical.
No blade can puncture the human heart like the well-chosen words of a spiteful son.
Rituals, anthropologists will tell us, are about transformation.
The rituals we use for marriage, baptism or inaugurating a president are as elaborate as they are because we associate the ritual with a major life passage, the crossing of a critical threshold, or in other words, with transformation.
To be around someone whose self-confidence is more than what our first glance led us to expect is seductive.
Geography is destiny.
Your job is to preserve yourself, not to descend into their hole.
It's a relief when you arrive at this place, the point of absurdity, because then you are free, you owe them nothing.
In writing, as in medicine, there are no short cuts. You need stamina.
In America, we have always taken it as an article of faith that we 'battle' cancer; we attack it with knives, we poison it with chemotherapy or we blast it with radiation. If we are fortunate, we 'beat' the cancer. If not, we are posthumously praised for having 'succumbed after a long battle.'
My VIP patients often regret so many things on their deathbeds.
They regret the bitterness they'll leave in people's hearts. They realize the no money, no church service, no eulogy, no funeral procession no matter how elaborate, can remove the legacy of a mean spirit.
The world turns on our every action, and our every omission, whether we know it or not.
We come unbidden into this life, and if we are lucky we find a purpose beyond starvation, misery, and early death which, lest we forget, is the common lot.
Life, too, is like that. You live it forward, but understand it backward. It is only when you stop and look to the rear that you see the corpse caught under your wheel.
There is a point when grief exceeds the human capacity to emote, and as a result one is strangely composed-
We know the average American physician interrupts their patient in 14 seconds.
She felt the familiar calmness of an emergency, but she understood the falseness of that feeling, now that it was her life at stake.
Patients know in a heartbeat if they're getting a clumsy exam.
I'm a great believer in geography being destiny.
I was angry with myself because I still loved her, or at least I loved that dream of our togetherness. My feelings were unreasonable, irrational, and I couldn't change them. That hurt.
I believe in black holes. I believe that as the universe empties into nothingness, past and future will smack together in the last swirl around the drain.
No matter what ailed you, you went to see the barber surgeon who wound up cupping you, bleeding you, purging you. And, oh yes, if you wanted, he would give you a haircut and pull your tooth while he was at it.
If 'ecstasy' meant the sudden intrusion of the sacred into the ordinary, then it had just happened to me.
There is that lovely feeling of one reader telling another, 'You must read this.
' I've always wanted to write a book like that, with the sense that you are contributing to the discourse in middle America, a discourse that begins at a book club in a living room, but then spreads. That is meaningful to me.
The flip side of suicide is that it leaves a lingering question in the minds of the people who survived. Its like a cancer thats metastasized. The suicide is the cancer and the metastasis is all these people saying, Why? Why? Why?
The crookedness of the serpent is still straight enough to slide through the snake hole.
This is my life, I thought...I have excised the cancer from my past, cut it out; I have crossed the high plains, descended into the desert, traversed oceans, and planted my feet in new soil; I have been the apprentice, paid my dues, and have just become master of my ship. But when I look down, why do I see the ancient, tarred, mud-stained slippers that I buried at the start of the journey still stuck to my feet?
I think America is really in denial about the degree to which residents, particularly foreign medical graduates, man the county hospitals of this country, and but for their services, I'm not sure how exactly we could manage.
The only way to know where you are is by where you have just been.
It was all I had, all I've ever had, the only currency, the only proof that I was alive. Memory.
The key to your happiness is to own your slippers, own who you are, own how you look, own your family, own the talents you have, and own the ones you don't. If you keep saying your slippers aren't yours, then you'll die searching, you'll die bitter, always feeling you were promised more. Not only our actions, but also our omissions, become our destiny.
I joke, but I only half joke, that if you come to one of our hospitals missing a limb, no one will believe you till they get a CAT scan, MRI or orthopedic consult.
We have the sense that medical students come to medicine with a great capacity to understand the suffering of patients. And then by the end of the third year they completely lose that ability, partly because we teach them the specialized language of medicine.
Make something beautiful of your life.
He had so many ways of climbing into the tree house in his head, escaping the madness below, and pulling the ladder up behind him.
She died chasing greatness and never saw it each time it was in her hand, so she kept seeking it elsewhere, but never understood the work required to get it or to keep it.
Yesterday misspent can't be recall'd Vanity makes beauty contemptible Wisdom is more valuable than riches.
For one who has an interest in the body as text, airports are treasure troves of information. It seems almost un-American to enjoy delays, and perhaps enjoy is not the best word, but certainly a delayed flight, if it does nothing else, allows one the opportunity to make prolonged observations about one's fellow travelers.
How we treat the least of our brethren,... that's the measure of this country.
Literature is a beautiful way of keeping the imagination alive, of visiting worlds you would never have time to in your day-to-day life. It keeps you abreast of a wider spectrum of human activities.
I think we can see how blessed we are in America to have access to the kind of health care we do if we are insured, and even if uninsured, how there is a safety net. Now, as to the problem of how much health care costs and how we reform health care ... it is another story altogether.
He was teaching me how to die, just as he'd taught me how to live.
She had always assumed that she would have years to sort out the meaning of life... As she bent over the child she realized that the tragedy of death had to do entirely with what was left unfulfilled.