Frozan Walyzada ~
It's late on a Friday afternoon in the outpatient clinic where I'm a third-year psychiatry resident. I'm wrapping up my appointment with Jane, a thirty-five-year-old woman with a mild intellectual disability who comes every month to refill her antidepressant prescription.
"Have you been watching the court case on TV?" she whispers.
I stop what I'm doing and look at her.
"The case with the judge and the doctor," she says.
I sit back in my chair and give her my full attention.
"I've been reading about it," I say. "Why do you ask?"
Pam Kress-Dunn ~
She was always my favorite nurse, her smile
genuine as I took my place at the table, my role
to supply the research and stats they might need
on the floor, or in preop. The chronic migraine
I brought along was my little secret, my inside joke
every time the talk turned to pain scales
and nerve blocks, the bright lights and overheads
nothing I couldn’t live through.
Her quiet story began and I sat up straight, stricken
with a thunderclap only I could hear.
Sometimes, she told us, people wake up before the anesthetic
wears off. They can’t move, can’t talk, can’t even
open their eyes to show me their fear.
Somehow, she knows.
Caitlin Bass ~
It's 8:00 pm, and it's hour fourteen in my twenty-eight-hour call shift at the large suburban hospital where I'm an intern.
You demand to speak with a doctor now, right now. You cannot wait. Your mother is sick, and you want to know exactly what is going on.
It doesn't matter that we already spoke at length by phone earlier this afternoon. It doesn't matter that it's 8:00 pm. It doesn't matter that I don't have any updates to give you.
You're here, and you want to speak with a doctor, your mother's doctor, now, right now.
Luckily for you, that's me.