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The Playground

I stand squinting in the sun as the kids parade off the buses. Quickly, the campgrounds fill with smiling faces, colorful t-shirts and baseball caps. From afar, there seems to be no difference between this place and any other summer camp.

However, underneath many of the t-shirts are chemotherapy ports and surgical scars, below the hats are bald heads and behind the smiles are fears, memories and young lives impacted by cancer. Yet walking through

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We Got the Call

 
Note to reader: The following is a verbatim transcription of what I posted to my blog the night we got the call from the liver team that they’d found a viable donor for my 11-year-old daughter who, at the time, had a 24 cm tumor which spread from her portal vein to her liver. 
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Rough Start

 
Approaching the hospital bassinet, I glimpse his hair first–long, carrot-colored fuzz sticking out in all directions from his pink, bowling-ball scalp. A chubby, scrunched face comes into view next, cherry-red lips forming a Cheerio and one eyelid wavering just enough to reveal a soft blue puddle beneath it.

Gingerly, I slide my hands under his sausage-like arms, my fingers cradling the doughy curves of his tiny neck, caressing the orange-yellow cornsilk on his occiput.

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Cartoons and Shots

I have vivid memories of the HIP (Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York, a prepaid health plan) waiting room on East 23rd Street in Manhattan, which I often visited as an elementary school child. I most remember two things about that room: the magazines, and the anticipation of a possible shot.
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Never Leaving Wonderland

Jacqueline Dooley

Three years ago I spent the entire month of September by my daughter’s side in her hospital room. From Ana’s window, we watched summer fade into fall as we waited, day after day, for her to be discharged, which finally happened in early October.

During her forty days in the hospital, Ana was diagnosed with an obscure, slow-growing cancer called inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor. The tumor, roughly the size of a cantaloupe,

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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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Wednesday’s Child

Cortney Davis

It was a Wednesday in late spring, 1972. I was a nursing student in my final months of training, eagerly awaiting graduation.

When I arrived on the maternity ward that morning, my nursing instructor told me that I’d be caring for a baby, only hours old, with special needs.

I thought she’d send me to the neonatal ICU. Instead, to my surprise, she motioned toward the linen closet, its doors

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Seeing the Light


Sarah Houssayni

Many healers, teachers and parents have them.  

At one point, I did, too. I had delusions. I thought I was a hero, a rescuer clad in a shiny white coat and wielding the sword of clinical wisdom. 

 

I look back on those days with nostalgia and regret. I wish they’d lasted a little longer–my belief

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Bonding Time

Nelly Schottel

As an intern in the neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU), I am one of several doctors who rarely see or touch the tiny patients we treat. We sit in a back room off a distant hallway, far removed from the babies, reviewing lab results and blood gases on the computer. Much of the time I feel like the Wizard of Oz, controlling a marvelous machine from behind a curtain.

The only uninterrupted time I

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Hurricane Sandy: Two Tales of One City: Part 2

 

Not Your Usual Halloween 

 
Alice Teich

Hey Manisha,

Last night–Halloween–I went and volunteered at a shelter in a school basement/gymnasium in the Nineties on the Upper West Side. 

There were more than 100 folks staying there, mostly evacuated from the Lower East Side. The shelter, run by the City, had some volunteers at the front desk, a few security people, a medical

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