Finding stability into the vortex: an introduction to the present issue of “Chronicles”

We called this number of Chronicles Finding stability into the vortex because that is what we are asked to do, in a vortex caused by an epidemic (pandemic?), economic, and media event.

We collected stories from different countries around the world asking doctors, humanists and others to write a page of considerations or a narrative on COVID-19. As you will read, they are rashly reflections, because in the vortex there are no certainties to hold on. There is also a writing that wishes to be a bit like – without any pretence – Quenau‘s Exercises in style, where the COVID-19 epidemic is rewritten multiple times using the classifications accepted worldwide by Medical Humanities and Narrative Medicine. And finally, we put resources where we can find stability in the vortex: meditation, breathing exercises, to calm the tumultuous emotions and thoughts that belong to the vortex.

The Decameron – with all the sincere hopes of not being in front of the plague of the fourteenth century – was written precisely to allow ten days of quarantine to pass. Ten young men, seven girls and three boys, to escape the black plague that rages over Florence, gather in a country villa and to pass the time. Every afternoon (except for Friday and Saturday days dedicated to penance) each one tells a story to companions, according to a theme established the day before by the Queen or King of the day.

Each of us can find his/her favourite theme, even to be carried out within the perimeter of the walls… For today physical, for tomorrow, we only hope mentally.


Written by

Epidemiologist and counselor – 30 years of professional life in health care. Classic humanistic background, including the study of Latin and ancient Greek, followed by scientific academic studies, chemistry and pharmacology. First years of career, in private international environment. I worked in medical research, moved to health care organization, getting academic specialization in Epidemiology. Later, in consultancy and health care education. Counselor with transactional analysis orientation. Currently, director of Innovation in Health Care Area of Fondazione ISTUD, an independent not for profit Italian Business School with an humanistic approach acknowledged by the Italian Ministry of Researech.. Active member of the board of Italian Society of Narrative Medicine, tenured professor of Narrative Medicine at Hunimed, Milan, and in 2016, referee for World Health Organization for “Narrative Method in Public Health.” Writer of the book; “Narrative medicine: Bridging the gap between Evidence Based care and Medical Humanities,” edited with Springer and of international publications on narrative medicine in scientific journals. Last book “The Languages of care in narrative medicine: words, space and sounds in the healthcare ecosystem”. Lecturer in different international contexts from Academy to Public and Private Foundations.

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