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More Voices


Every month More Voices invites readers to contribute short nonfiction prose pieces of 40 to 400 words on a healthcare theme.

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I sit across from my sixty-year-old patient, whom I know to be a sprightly woman, although she is now busy scanning the floor with her eyes.
 
I place my hand over her interlaced fingers. "What's the matter?" I ask. 
 
She forces a smile through pursed lips. 
 
"Did the surgery go well?" I continue in my effort to coax words out of her. 
 
"Surgery was fine," she says, looking past my face, her eyes now fixated on the wall. "But I don't feel well."
 
I feel a feeble tremor in her hands and respond with a slight squeeze. 
 
"Tell me more," I try again. 
 
"You know what the most disturbing part of open-heart surgery is?" she asks, her gaze darting to my eyes this time.
 
I fumble in vain for the right reply. 
 
"The thought of your bare heart in someone else's hands," she answers herself. 
 
I am visibly surprised, perhaps even a bit shaken. 
 
"Life's a relay race after all, isn't it?" she chuckles, as if to assuage the muddled expression on my face. 
 
I merely smile and nod, in silence.
 
Her observation settles into me, sends forth ripples...
 
Life's a relay race... 

From the hands that receive you as you enter this life, to the hands that pronounce you dead, you encounter many hands--some that may touch your heart, some that may tear it apart. Each of us a baton, passed from hands to hands...

Remya Ravindran
Mansfield, Massachusetts