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.
Julie Hill with a story about her six-year-old son, and how he tries to make sense of his father's terminal illness.
Most sperm banks provide all sorts of information about their donors: Education level, medical background. They even have videotaped interviews and recorded answers to essay questions.
Scott goes on a quest to discover if the amnesia in the movies—where someone gets bonked on the head and forgets everything—ever happens in real life.
The 2000 election season was strange in that many of the issues that the candidates debated most heatedly were ones that most of us have no handle on—prescription drug policy, social security solvency...and educational accountability. Producer Alex Blumberg travels to North Carolina, a state where many of the promises both candidates make regarding education are already in place.
After he died, Albert Einstein became a figure of international kitsch: Appearing in computer and Pepsi ads, showing up a comic character in movies with Meg Ryan, and until very recently his brain was on the loose without his family's consent...in the unauthorized possession of the doctor who did the autopsy, a man named Thomas Harvey. Mike Paterniti took a cross-country roadtrip with Dr Harvey and the brain.
What happens when you want your dad to change—and he wants to change, too—but there's literally nothing that can be done to change him. Jon Sarkin was a chiropractor with workaholic tendencies.
Medical Examiner L.J. Dragovic, in Pontiac, Michigan, explains how every crime scene is like a novel.
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.
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.
Mike Paterniti talks about working on a teen ambulance corps, growing up in Connecticut.
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.
When Terry Shine's father was in the hospital, Terry and his brothers spent weeks trying to do whatever they could to help. But first they had to learn the language and customs of the average American hospital.
When a nurse asks a 14-year-old burn victim out for ice cream, is it a date? Brent Runyon tells the story, which was produced by Jay Allison, part of his Life Stories series, with help from Christina Egloff and funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The story is part of Runyon's book The Burn Journals. Ira then speaks with an interested party.
Wendy Dorr, an assistant producer at Radio Diaries, has this story of what happens to you if you break one of the cardinal rules of a hospital, over and over, for years.
No radio program about caregivers in a hospital would be complete without a few words about the caregiver that is the most omnipresent...in every room, in the waiting rooms, at the nurses' stations. It's television.
The teenagers arrive in West Virginia and take a look around.
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.
Photographer Joel Meyerowitz decided to go on a last big trip with his father Hy, who has Alzheimer's. Joel also brought his own son.
What if you asked people for advice and actually took all the advice that everyone gave you? As an experiment, writer Sarah Vowell tried exactly that, when she recently solicited advice from many different people about insomnia.
When Brigid starting going blind, she tried to hire someone to drive her around. Only problem was, the guy she hired wanted to carry her groceries, hold her arm as she walked to the curb...he tried to help her in too many ways.
Jack Hitt tells the story of Charlene Riling, who nearly died, and who explains how life near to death can be better than everyday life.
A story by Jay Allison and Annie Cheney, from Jay's Life Stories series. Annie tells a story of eating and not eating, and a life seen through one meal.
The story of a White House scandal from the year 1881. President James Garfield lay dying of a gunshot wound during that summer.