David Sedaris, on his mother's lung cancer.
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How writer (and frequent This American Life contributor) David Sedaris and his family reacted when Sedaris's mother—a lifelong, unrepentant smoker—developed lung cancer. After a lifetime of barbed, funny remarks, no one in the family is prepared to talk about their feelings.
One of the most powerful forces in a room can be the thing that is unspoken between people. Five writers—Scott Carrier, David Sedaris, Sarah Vowell, Brady Udall and Lan Samantha Chang—give us case examples: stories when they felt the presence of something unspoken.
Dr. David Kalenberger is the head of a fertility clinic in Oklahoma City.
Donald Trump has promised to get rid of Obamacare. Producer David Kestenbaum talks with someone who’d lose their insurance.
Planet Money correspondent David Kestenbaum investigates the growing popularity of pet insurance, and what it reveals about insurance for people.
Journalist David Epstein tells the story of Jill Viles, who has muscular dystrophy and can’t walk. But she believes that she somehow has same condition as one of the best hurdlers in the world, Priscilla Lopes-Schliep.
When health care premiums went up in New York State, a bunch of people got mad and wrote letters to the state.
Former Bush Administration official David Frum explains a very surprising fact about Bush's economic failure, as it relates to health care. Frum is a regular contributor to the radio show Marketplace.
David Rakoff goes in search of the only existing mementos of a year-and-a-half of his life when he nearly died from Hodgkins Disease. The missing relics are his own pre-chemotherapized sperm — which reside somewhere in a Toronto lab.
The men and women on staff at This American Life decide to get their testosterone levels tested, to see who has the most and least, and to see if personality traits actually do match up with hormone levels. It turns out to be an exercise that in retrospect, we might not recommend to other close-knit groups of friends or co-workers.
A lot of life's inevitability is hazy; it'll happen some time, but you're not sure when. But with pregnancy, it's on an invariable schedule: forty weeks.
Mark O'Brien is in an iron lung and comes out for short periods of time. What does he do with those precious moments free of the machinery that keeps him alive? He goes to the theater.
Ira and Albert Donnay read a true ghost story that appeared in a medical journal in 1921. A "Mrs.
Michael Lesy reads.
Until recently, most insurance companies didn't want doctors to apologize to patients they'd harmed, for fear it could be used against them in lawsuits. Now, though, there's a new movement encouraging doctors to 'fess up and say sorry.
Host Ira Glass talks with Robert Lipsyte, author of In the Country of Illness, who tells a story of how one lady in New York won the hospital staff over to her side with one conversation.
Ira Glass's grandmother.
Another story about parasites. When Jasper Lawrence learned that hookworms might lessen the effects of his allergies, he set out on a unique mission: To travel to West Africa and purposefully become infected with the parasite.
Host Ira Glass talks with people who've been hit by lightning. They describe what happened at the moment the bolt struck ... and how they came to view it later.
When you get to know someone, really know them, you can almost predict their behavior. It's comforting, this intimacy.
In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) declared that homosexuality was not a disease simply by changing the 81-word definition of sexual deviance in its own reference manual. It was a change that attracted a lot of attention at the time, but the story of what led up to that change is one that we hear today, from reporter Alix Spiegel.
When Sarah was 10 years old, she got a heart transplant. Soon after, her mother decided to find out more about the person who saved her daughter's life.
Alix Spiegel's story continues, with a man dressed in a Nixon mask called Dr. Anonymous, and a pivotal encounter in a Hawaiian bar.