It was early November–the sky a sharp, deep blue that only comes at that time of year–and my primary-care clinic in the heart of the city was booked full with bronchitis and early flu. The TV in the corner was tuned to CNN. Children bounced around in boredom, chatting away in an assortment of languages–Haitian and Portuguese creole, Spanish, English.
My last patient of the morning was Jack, a man I’d been seeing for the past few years. He was a middle-aged guy–almost the same age as I was, in fact. I found him sitting quietly in the examining room, reading glasses on and newspaper in hand, wearing a jacket with his employer’s logo on the front.
Unlike most of the people in the waiting room, Jack was feeling well. He was only here to follow up on the usual suspects–diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, weight struggles. When I checked his blood pressure, though, it was way out of control.
“That’s strange,” I said, looking through his records. “Your pressure is usually pretty good. Have you missed your medications at all in the last few days?”
“No. I take them every day. Might just be”–he took his glasses off and …