Francie Camper ~
City snow blankets my little mother in her hospital
bed in her bedroom, no wonder she is confused,
pointing to things in the air, on the ceiling that only
she can see. She might be hailing a cab. She raises
her head to tell me, Four members of the Isenberg
family came to visit and one was Mima Ettel,
who is already buried in
As a family-practice resident, I’ve found that a premium is placed not only on my clinical acumen but also on how well I respond to my patients’ mental and emotional experience of illness.
Yet the work of learning to be a doctor is just that–work. And in overwhelming amounts. Time management becomes ever more vital: As I take the time needed to gently break bad news and to console a patient,
“Nursing students needed to work in the University Hospital, good pay, orientation.”
As a rising nursing-school senior in the 1970s, I naïvely applied for the job above without getting the full details. No one mentioned that I’d be working in a psychiatric unit housing twenty-five aggressive, catatonic or schizophrenic patients, many of whom had been locked away for years.
The entrance sign, which should have read “Locked Psych/Med/Surg Unit,” said
By the time my wife and I reached Hospital B’s exam room, early in the afternoon, we’d already put in a very long day.
Across the room, which was no bigger than a galley kitchen, stood three doctors. One–I’ll call him the Chief–was the bearded, bushy-maned head of the pediatric oncology program. His explosion of salt-and-pepper hair