There’s a machine lots of us encounter as a big impersonal, mechanical apparatus, that has a ghost in it. But it’s a ghost that appears to just a small handful of people. Jean Hannah Edelstein tells the story to Ira.
We meet the doctors. Rana Awdish spends hours of each day walking the floors of the ICU checking in on her co-workers, which means that maybe more than any single person in the hospital she knows best what the staff has been going through at each stage of this pandemic. One doctor that has deep ties to Detroit is Geneva Tatem.
On September 29th a medical researcher in Philadelphia fired off a simple, well-meaning tweet, and then barely thought twice about it. Little did she know that by doing that, she was perpetrating covert propaganda on behalf of the U.S. government.
Ira Glass explains that, like the rest of America, we at This American Life are not tired of those stories of women who have no idea they're pregnant and then—poof—one day a baby pops out. Ira and several of our producers speak with Jennifer Lyne, who found out just a few days before giving birth and even appeared on the TV show I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant.
Host Ira Glass talks to Rob Lamberts, a doctor and blogger in Georgia, who describes the crazy world of medical billing, where armies of coders use several contradictory different systems of codes...and none of it makes us healthier.
Host Ira Glass talks with Susan Dentzer, editor of the journal Health Affairs, about what current health reform proposals do to fix the rising costs of healthcare...And points at a surprising, kind of heartening phenomenon happening within the current debate.
Host Ira Glass talks about his fear of sleep, and reports on other people who have very strong reasons of their own to fear bedtime. We also hear the sounds of troubled sleepers from a DVD put together by Doctors Carlos Schenck and Mark Mahowald of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center.
Host Ira Glass describes the thing that we all do at some point: Talk expertly about something we don't actually know anything about. It's so common, explains This American Life contributing editor Nancy Updike, that some friends of hers invented an imaginary magazine devoted to such blathering.
Susie and John Drury moved to their farm just two years ago. But when John got sick for awhile, people who were no more than friendly acquaintances started helping out in ways that completely surprised them.
Producer Alex Blumberg explains that he wanted to do this show because of his conflicted relationship with his own testosterone. He tells host Ira Glass that the reasons go back to a girl in his eighth-grade homeroom and the 1970s seminal feminist novel The Women's Room. We also hear from a man who stopped producing testosterone due to a medical treatment and found that his entire personality was altered.
An interview with a transgender man, who started life as female and began taking testosterone injections several years ago. He explains how testosterone changed his views on nature vs. nurture for good.
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.