Abraham Verghese quotes

  • Wasn't that the definition of home? Not where you are from, but where you are wanted
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Home #Definitions #Where You Are

  • Though I am fascinated by knowledge, I am even more fascinated by wisdom.
    -- Abraham Verghese

  • You live it forward, but understand it backward.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Life #Inspire

  • There is a point when grief exceeds the human capacity to emote, and as a result one is strangely composed-
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Grief #Results #Capacity

  • 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.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Looks #Wheels #Caught

  • 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.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Lucky #Purpose #Common

  • 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

    #Zero #Two #Numbers

  • The most important innovation in medicine to come in the next 10 years: the power of the human hand.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Motivation #Inspiration #Hands

  • What treatment in an emergency is administered by ear?
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Ears #Emergencies #Treatment

  • No blade can puncture the human heart like the well-chosen words of a spiteful son.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Heart #Son #Parent

  • We know the average American physician interrupts their patient in 14 seconds.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Average #Physicians #Patient

  • 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. I grew up and I found my purpose and it was to become a physician. My intent wasn't to save the world as much as to heal myself. Few doctors will admit this, certainly not young ones, but subconsciously, in entering the profession, we must believe that ministering to others will heal our woundedness. And it can. but it can also deepen the wound.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Believe #Doctors #Entering

  • Patients know in a heartbeat if they're getting a clumsy exam.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Patient #Exam #Heartbeat

  • 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.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Baptism #President #Use

  • 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?
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Suicide #Cancer #People

  • 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.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Heart #Thinking #Medicine

  • The crookedness of the serpent is still straight enough to slide through the snake hole.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Snakes #Slides #Enough

  • That's the funny thing about America--the blessed thing. As many people as there are to hold you back, there are angels whose humanity makes up for all the others. I've had my share of angels.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Thank You #Blessed #Angel

  • Pray tell us, what's your favorite number?
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Math #Numbers #Praying

  • Geography is destiny.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Destiny #Geography

  • 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.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Son #Play #Three

  • Yesterday misspent can't be recall'd Vanity makes beauty contemptible Wisdom is more valuable than riches.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Vanity #Yesterday #Riches

  • We're losing a ritual. We're losing a ritual that I believe is transformative, transcendent, and is at the heart of the patient-physician relationship.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Motivation #Believe #Inspiration

  • 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.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Giving #Teeth #Matter

  • I was taking care of people my age who were dying. The constant feeling, hearing from them, was that life is transient and can end very quickly, so don't postpone your dreams.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Dream #People #Feelings

  • I love to read poetry but I haven't written anything that I'm willing to show anybody.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Shows #Love To Read #Willing

  • In an emergency, what treatment is given by ear? Words of Comfort.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Emergencies #Comfort #Ears

  • 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 specialized language, can ironically make one lose sight of the patient one came to serve; empathy can be replaced by cynicism.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #School #Sight #Empathy

  • 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.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Blessed #Thinking #America

  • The bottom line: health care reform is about the patient, not about the physician.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Physicians #Reform #Care

  • 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.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Country #Men #Thinking

  • 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.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Beautiful #Imagination #Alive

  • I still find the best way to understand a hospitalized patient is not by staring at the computer screen but by going to see the patient; it's only at the bedside that I can figure out what is important.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Important #Way #Patient

  • When a man is a mystery to himself you can hardly call him mysterious.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Men #Mysterious #Mystery

  • What did it say when a man had fewer clothes than books?
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Book #Men #Clothes

  • 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.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Medicine #Years #Suffering

  • There are moments as a teacher when I'm conscious that I'm trotting out the same exact phrase my professor used with me years ago. It's an eerie feeling, as if my old mentor is not just in the room, but in my shoes, using me as his mouthpiece.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Teacher #Shoes #Years

  • Don't Let Him Know is a rich, evocative and brilliantly told tale of family, of loyalties, and of love that must stay secret. Sandip Roy has broken new ground in this tale of the modern Indian family. A lovely read
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Loyalty #Broken #Secret

  • Being the first born gives you great patience.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Giving #Firsts #Born

  • She felt the familiar calmness of an emergency, but she understood the falseness of that feeling, now that it was her life at stake.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Medicine #Feelings #Emergencies

  • 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.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Greatness #Hands #Saws

  • It was all I had, all I've ever had, the only currency, the only proof that I was alive. Memory.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Memories #Stories #Alive

  • The world turns on our every action, and our every omission, whether we know it or not.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Omission #World #Action

  • Students undergo a conversion in the third year of medical school - not pre-clinical to clinical, but pre-cynical to cynical.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #School #Years #Cynical

  • God will judge us, Mr. Harris, by--by what we did to relieve the suffering of our fellow human beings. I don't think God cares what doctrine we embrace.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Thinking #Judging #Suffering

  • 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.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Motivational #Destiny #Omission

  • Not only our actions, but also our omissions, become our destiny.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Destiny #Omission #Our Actions

  • Life for the Italians was what it was, no more and no less, an interlude between meals
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Meals

  • 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.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Jobs #Relief #Holes

  • We are all fixing what is broken. It is the task of a lifetime. We'll leave much unfinished for the next generation.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Broken #Tasks #Generations

  • Be careful! Travel expands the mind and loosens the bowels.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Mind #Bowels #Be Careful

  • ...guilt leads to righteous action, but rarely is it the right action.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Guilt #Action #Righteous

  • My sense is that the wonderful technology that we have to visualize the inside of the body often leaves physicians feeling that the exam is a waste of time and so they may shortchange the ritual.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Technology #Feelings #Physicians

  • 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?
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Cancer #Ocean #Cutting

  • I'm a great believer in geography being destiny.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Destiny #Geography #Believer

  • 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.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Opportunity #Airports #Doe

  • By visiting patients in their home, by helping them come to terms with their illness, I could heal when I could not cure.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Home #Helping #Patient

  • In writing, as in medicine, there are no short cuts. You need stamina.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Writing #Cutting #Medicine

  • 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.'
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Cancer #Taken #Knives

  • 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.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Meaningful #Book #Writing

  • When I use the word 'healing,' by that I mean that every disease has a physical element that we're very good at handling, but there's always a sense of the violation. 'Why me?' 'Why is my leg broken on the ski trip and not anyone else's?' And I think that medicine has done a terrible job of addressing that spiritual violation.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Spiritual #Jobs #Healing

  • According to Shiva, life is in the end about fixing holes. Shiva didn't speak in metaphors. fixing holes is precisely what he did. Still, it's an apt metaphor for our profession. But there's another kind of hole, and that is the wound that divides family. Sometimes this wound occurs at the moment of birth, sometimes it happens later. We are all fixing what is broken. It is the task of a lifetime. We'll leave much unfinished for the next generation.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Broken #Next #Fixing

  • 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.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Regret #Heart #Mean

  • 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.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Believe #Past #Black

  • Make something beautiful of your life.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Beautiful #Something Beautiful

  • What we are fighting isn't godlessness--this is the most godly country on earth. We aren't even fighting disease. Its poverty. Money for food, medicines... that helps. When we cannot cure or save a life, our patients can at least feel cared for. It should be a basic human right.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Country #Fighting #Godly

  • A rich man's faults are covered with money, but a surgeon's faults are covered with earth.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Men #Earth #Faults

  • Ignorance was just as dynamic as knowledge, and it grew in the same proportion.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Ignorance #Proportion #Grew

  • 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...
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Climbing #Escaping #Tree

  • 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.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Children #Years #Tragedy

  • Another day in paradise' was his inevitable pronouncement when he settled his head on his pillow. Now I understand what that meant: the uneventful day was a precious gift.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Paradise #Another Day #Inevitable

  • I always wondered if the good people who send us bibles really think that hookworm and hunger are healed by scripture? Our patients are illiterate.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Thinking #People #Scripture

  • 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.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Father #Comfort #Ears

  • 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.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Dream #Hurt #Feelings

  • To be around someone whose self-confidence is more than what our first glance led us to expect is seductive.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Self Confidence #Seductive #Firsts

  • When you win, you often lose, that's just a fact. There's no currency to straighten a warped spirit, or open a closed heart, a selfish heart...
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Selfish #Heart #Winning

  • 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.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Believe #Cat #Missing

  • A beautiful literary collection that tells of today's country doctor, somewhat removed from our romantic black-bag image of days gone by, but still fulfilling an essential need in caring for spread-out populations. At times, with today's advances in technology, medicine in rural America looks very like it does in America's cities, but the variety of practices is enormous. The Country Doctor Revisited captures the trials and tribulations of medicine, but also the satisfaction and the extraordinary rewards that come to those who embrace such a practice.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Beautiful #Country #Caring

  • Certainly when I got to medical school, I had role models of the kind of physicians I wanted to be. I had an uncle who, looking back, was probably not the most-educated physician around, but he carried it off so well.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Uncles #School #Role Models

  • He was teaching me how to die, just as he'd taught me how to live.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Teaching #Taught

  • If 'ecstasy' meant the sudden intrusion of the sacred into the ordinary, then it had just happened to me.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Ordinary #Sacred #Intrusion

  • How we treat the least of our brethren,... that's the measure of this country.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Country #Treats

  • 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.
    -- Abraham Verghese

    #Morning #Sight #Sunrise