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A Duplexity of Maladies

Editor’s Note: This piece was a finalist in the Pulse writing contest, “On Being Different.”

I have a body besieged by two chronic illnesses, namely multiple sclerosis (MS) and bipolar disorder. My health profile has been described as “abnormal,” but I’ve always resisted that term in favor of “atypical,” for my poor health renders me unusual but not inhuman.

Still, the truth is that I am essentially and profoundly sick. My imbalanced body frequently aches,

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Double Take

Sauntering into the dark hospital room, I was dazzled by my patient’s radiant smile. It spanned her face and crinkled her eyes; her crooked teeth peeked through her lips, making her seem approachable and kind.

“Hi, Ms. Radha, I’m a third-year medical student,” I said. “Is this an okay time to chat? I’m here on behalf of the psychiatry department.”

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