Her name was Sara. She wore an oversized blue jacket, black rain boots and a scarf over her head. With my bright blue Health Leads patient advocate polo shirt, I greeted Sara as she sat down in the chair next to me.
“I need some childcare vouchers. They’ve stopped giving me money and I can’t seem to make ends meet any more,” she told me quietly.
But when you say it about a baby, a twin, it’s enough to silence any sympathizer.
It is 1959; it’s my first night on duty as a medical resident at a VA hospital. I am called to the ER.
I enter the ER where the nurse, appearing frightened and perplexed, is talking on the phone. She places her tremulous hand over the receiver and says to me, “It’s a Korean war veteran. He thinks he’s in action and is speaking to his command installation and is screaming for more back-up, more shelling. We are trying to trace the call.”
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My parents and I were rushing to D.C. to be by my grandmother’s side–I from Boston by plane, they from Pittsburgh by automobile. It was a cloudy morning.
Upon reaching Reagan National Airport, I switched my mobile out of airplane mode and saw a text from my sister: call mum right now. Despite being the older sibling, I always followed my sister’s instructions and obediently called our mum.