Sharing of giving and receiving health care
Opening my purse to pull out my reading glasses, I notice the small white nasal-spray bottle still encased in its clear plastic packaging. I’ve been carrying it for a few months now. Do I feel reassured seeing it there?
As a physician, I wonder if the chance is greater that I’ll one day use this bottle to save someone’s life than it is that I’ll rescue someone with CPR or the Heimlich maneuver.
It was 5:00 pm in the intensive-care unit, and my team and I had just wrapped up our interview with elderly Ms. Armijo, who was in critical condition after emergency abdominal surgery.
Exhausted after a long day, we headed for the door, the ICU machines and monitors beeping their goodbyes.
From behind us, Ms. Armijo called, “You know, the thing I’m really worried about is being all alone!”
I spun on my heel. She was trying to sit up in bed, fright radiating from every inch of her frail, failing body.
I’d thought that we’d covered
Leaving my office this evening, I see the white orchid’s last petal struggling to hold on. With its faded grey veins and withered brown edges, it looks like a bit of old, crumpled paper. Even the sunlight streaming through the window doesn’t brighten it. Tenderly, I reach down to touch its softness.
The touch transports me back to when I first met Shirley, who gave me the orchid. I remember it vividly.
Every month readers tell their stories — in 40 to 400 words — on a different healthcare theme.
A model or philosophy of primary care that is patient-centered, comprehensive, team-based, coordinated, accessible and focused on quality and safety. –Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative
It’s a philosophy
not a place.
I get it.
Certainly we never used that term
to describe what we offered
there in the broken heart of the city
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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.”
“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,