Sharing personal experiences of giving and receiving health care

Walking in Beauty

The 11,306-foot summit of Mount Taylor in northwestern New Mexico was my destination one sunny autumn morning. But what I sought that day was something else: understanding and forgiveness.

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Caught in the Middle

One day several decades ago, after morning rounds, Dr. Prescott slipped into the ER where I was the cardiac nurse. She did something a doctor would never do: She placed her leather medical bag on a stretcher instead of on the desk. Her eyes locked onto mine.

“I’m having a heart attack,” she said calmly.

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I Wish I’d Known

From the computer screen a few inches away, Oliver’s honey-brown eyes gazed into mine in the unadulterated way that only children’s eyes can, matching the directness of his question:

“Is he going to die?”

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More Voices

Every month readers tell their stories — in 40 to 400 words — on a different healthcare theme.

Code Red Our Changing Climate
Code Red: Our Changing Climate

October 2021

Unvaccinated
Unvaccinated

September 2021

smoking
Smoking

August 2021

Microcalcifications

A cluster, I say,
so small – see? I can cover it
with the tip of my finger. Tiny little
calcifications. I show
you the mammogram.
I orient you to your own breast,
shown in unfamiliar form. You need
a biopsy, I say. They will
numb you up and take
out some material
with a special needle
and then we can see
what we are dealing with here.

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A Question

Having told me you’ve had low energy
and decreased interest
in the things you used to enjoy
(reading, Canasta, sex),
I ask you,
because I believe we have enough rapport—
though how can one ever be certain—

Have you had thoughts of killing yourself?

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Womb in Waiting

              “Yes, death will make the poem end.” – Danielle Chapman

              i History

Fact: my mother had a hysterectomy at age 80.
Fact: she had birthed six children, miscarried one.
Fact: she told us she did not need those parts anymore.
Fact: she was diagnosed with breast cancer at 94.
Fact: her sister was diagnosed at 98.
Fact: my aunt chose a mastectomy, lived to 103.

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encounters 20sept geneva

Encounters: “I have been so blessed…”

I had my first baby when I was thirteen, and my mother died when I was thirteen. I’ve been through a lot in my life, but when my faith is not consistent, that’s when I start getting all those crazy thoughts, like “Oh, my life, my life…”

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Felipe's Story

Felipe’s Story: “I’m going to the U.S. I’m going to see who detained the clouds and how they detained them.”

“There was a time [in Mexico] that it didn’t rain and there wasn’t a lot to eat in the country. There were no crops. People started to say that the Americans stopped the clouds so it wouldn’t rain, because they are very powerful. I said, I’m going to meet these Americans — I’m going to go to the U.S. I’m going to see who detained the clouds and how they detained them. I was about 15.”

“[Hubo] un tiempo que no llovía y no había mucho que comer en el campo. No hubo cosechas. Empezaron a contar los señores que los Americanos detuvieron las nubes para que no lloviera porque son muy poderosos. Dije, voy a conocer los Estados Unidos. Voy a ver quienes son los que detienen las nubes, como las detienen. Tenía como 15 años.”

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Fatima's Story

Fatima’s Story: “I want them to be better than me. I’m here, stuck.”

“I tell [my children], you don’t have to do anything for me, just go to school and do what you have to do. On the weekend I take them to the mosque, because jeu can learn Arabic and all that. And I just want them to study. That’s all. That’s the main thing. If you want to be someone tomorrow, you have to work hard right now.

I want them to be better than me. I’m here, stuck. I cannot do the work that I want to do because I don’t have the degree for it,

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