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Listening to Light Doyle

Listening to Light

Donna Doyle

About the artist: 

“My work as a poet and as a photographer is inspired by experienes I am unable to let go of–images, thoughts and feelings. These reflective practices help me grow. A year-and-a-half ago, the medical library where I work relocated from a building (with

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Showing Up

Sarah Bigham

Years ago, as I left my college dorm room, the posters caught my eye. Plastered everywhere, they announced a bone-marrow drive led by a fellow student in search of a match for his brother, diagnosed with cancer.

A confirmed needlephobe, I’d recently fled a Red Cross blood drive at the mere thought of the tourniquet. Registering as a bone-marrow donor seemed like a terrible idea–but the sibling connection grabbed me and

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Desperate for Change

It is a mild Sunday afternoon in October, and I am standing in front of a closed reception window, desperate for change. It is the early 1990s, and we don’t yet have cell phones. I have already exhausted my supply of coins, making calls on the public phone hanging on the wall in the ER waiting room. 

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Hope

Who knows how many voices created the cacophony that filled the waiting room that night? Words, wails and whispers gave sound to the gamut of human experiences and emotions. But as I listened, I heard one clear, unwavering note that floated above the clamor.
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“Hug Lady, Pretty Dress, Crying?”

I am sitting in the all-too-familiar waiting room of my local emergency department on a Saturday night in July. I am here with my daughter, Ashley, who is nineteen but could pass for a typical twelve-year-old—until she starts to talk. Ashley has a rare genetic disorder. On the good days I laugh and say that she will make a great ventriloquist because she talks without ever moving her lips. This is not a good day.

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The Comfort of Strangers

Mind your own business, I say to myself. It’s like being in a crowded subway car: avoid eye contact, and give these people their space. Try and focus on that sappy family drama that’s playing on the TV.
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Special Delivery

Deborah Pierce

I first met Marie five years ago. A petite, soft-spoken woman in her thirties, she was the patient of one of the residents whom I supervise at our community hospital. Marie worked in housekeeping for a large corporation; she and her husband, a bus driver, had a six-year-old son. Now she was twenty-six weeks (six months) pregnant with their second child.

Marie’s blood pressure was markedly elevated (168/120), she had fairly

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Valhalla Over Connacht Shea

Valhalla Over Connacht

Sandra Shea

About the artist: 

Sandra Shea is an associate professor at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.  “As a colon and skin cancer survivor, I know WAY too much about how health care works from the inside!  Ireland holds a special place in my

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My little ray of hope Jaffery

A Little Ray of Hope

Tara Jaffery

About the artist: 

Tara Jaffery is an internist working in Shifa International Hospital in Islamabad, Pakistan. She was a FAIMER (Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research) fellow at the time she took this photograph in late 2005, when northern

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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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Sick and Tired

Paul Rousseau

“You told me you’re tired–tired of all the transfusions, and tired of being sick. Do you want to stop all the transfusions, Nancy?” I asked the woman lying in the hospital bed.

She was silent. Her husband of nineteen years, sitting nearby, was silent as well.

“What are you thinking, Nancy, can you tell me?” I asked.

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Falling in Love With My Doctor

Judith Lieberman

The other doctors I consulted called him brilliant. His past patients praised his compassion. He actually responded to e-mails. And, lastly, he was known as the best-looking doctor at the cancer center. What more could I ask?

On the other hand, what choice did I have? After twelve years, I was facing a recurrence of a relatively rare oral cancer, located inconveniently at the base of my tongue. The treatment options were not

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