Hi, I’m Susan Ball. I’m an internist with a Master’s degree in Public Health and a recently acquired Master’s of Science in Narrative Medicine. I’ve been taking care of patients with HIV in New York City for nearly twenty years. It has been a wild ride, at first sad and disheartening because we lacked effective treatment and so many patients died. These days things are much better because we have the tools to help most of our patients live long and healthy lives. Whereas my early work in HIV involved many hours in the hospital caring for sick and dying patients, today I spend most of my clinical time in the out-patient setting.
I work at a large, academic medical center and over the years I’ve been there, I’ve heard many stories from patients, colleagues, students and residents about AIDS, about medicine, and about how young doctors are learning their chosen field In this website and blog, and in a book I’ve recently completed, I want to share some of these stories. AIDS care has changed dramatically in the last twenty years and the field of Medicine is changing as well. My work in Narrative Medicine has taught me that better understanding of stories – both the ones I hear and the ones I tell – can help us improve our connection with our patients and ourselves. Ultimately I hope this can lead to better care.
Other things about me: I don’t have any goldfish and I am struggling to be a better Tweeter! I have two teenage sons who keep me on my toes as an alternately adoring and exasperated parent. I have a partner who is a hardworking obstetrician and essential heart to me and vital right arm to my life. And we all have a young dog named Carter, whose photo will no doubt show up in a blog or two. I love to be outside, I’m a big Francophile and I love to ski, play guitar and paint, none of which I do often enough. I also love to play golf but that is a very rare event. Perhaps in one of these blogs you will see that I like to write rhymes – calling it poetry would be a stretch – and enjoy Robert Frost and Robert Service. More to follow.