In December, I had the opportunity to meet BJ Miller at a holiday party. BJ is a triple amputee palliative care doctor. The first time I heard of him was through this New York Times profile about his work as the Director of the Zen Hospice in San Francisco. What struck me right away was his way of framing his disability, which i found very inspiring.
Miller spent years repulsed by the “chopped meat” where his arm ended and crushed with shame when he noticed people wince or look away. But he slowly became more confident and playful. He replaced the sock-like covering many amputees wear over their arm stumps with an actual sock: first a plain sock, then stripes and argyles. Then, one day he forgot to put on any sock and — just like that — “I was done with it. I was no longer ashamed of my arm.”“One Man’s Queasy To Change The Way We Die, ” Jane Mooallem, New York Times, Jan. 3, 2017
In person, BJ did not disappoint, from the first moment I saw him bounding up the stairs. It was quite a sight, a man with no legs bounding up the stairs. I managed to sit down next to him and have a very interesting conversation. Stay tuned, I’ll go over it in more detail in an upcoming episode