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Breadwinner

Breadwinner

The first thing I notice are the dark circles under Mr. Jones’s eyes.

It’s 4:30 pm on a Wednesday during my third year of medical school. I’m in the fifth week of my family-medicine rotation, and we’re deep into our daily routine: triage, history, physical examination, differential diagnosis, present the case to the attending physician, repeat.

Mr. Jones is a new patient. His face and belly are round, his arms and legs lanky.

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What I Did for Love


Amy McVay Abbott ~

My husband, who’s had type 2 diabetes for twenty years, had been struggling for a long while to lower his hemoglobin A1C–a number that measures how well he’s managing his blood sugar over time. When he and I finally investigated the issue, it turned out that someone close to him was thwarting his efforts.

This person is an addict. Her drug of choice is sugar–often candy no self-respecting

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Beating the Numbers Racket

Thuy D. Bui

“What’s my number?” shouted Betsy as I entered the examination room one day last fall.

“Oh, you mean your A1C? It’s nine-point-four!” I answered. A sentence sped through my mind: “The hemoglobin A1C number tells how well a patient’s diabetes is controlled–seven or less is good.” In my seven years as Betsy’s primary-care doctor, I’ve repeated this information at visits and included it in appointment reminders as well.

Betsy is a pale,

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Florence

Ben White

When I first met Florence in the ER, she’d already been dying for some time.

I was a third-year medical student doing my internal-medicine clerkship. Florence was a soft-spoken, tired woman in her sixties. To her, I was yet another face asking all the same questions, but she didn’t mind telling her story again–although she did stop

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Washing Feet

Robert Fawcett

Being thorough, I remove a holey sock 
to view a diabetic man’s filthy feet.
I use the time to complete our talk
of what drove him to live on the street
as I wonder how any of this can help.

While he tells me more of his medical past, 
I run warm water into a stainless bowl.

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Reading Entrails

Sugar poisons

ruin your blood,
runs your legs
while you sleep,
revs your irregular
heart beat.

Maple sap, tree ripened
orange, dark chocolate,
honey dripping
from the comb
are not viable substitutes;
only abstinence
and the eleven day
skin crawl withdrawal.

Or an asymmetrical death:
one part at a time,
organ by organ,
memory fog,

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