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The Dining-Room Caper

After fifteen years as a physical therapist in the long-term care industry, I’d vowed never again to get overly attached to a resident. Although I accepted my patients’ inevitable physical and cognitive declines, the deaths of those I had cherished took too much of an emotional toll: It felt like losing a grandparent, repeatedly.

Then William entered our facility.

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Father and Son

When I met Mr. Rosenbaum, age ninety, I’d been a physical therapist at the hospital for all of three months.

The nurse had propped up his scabbed foot on several pillows. Cushioned on them like a precious jewel, it extended over the bed’s end.

I introduced myself and asked if he’d like help adjusting his yarmulke, which was entangled in the nasal breathing tube slung around his left ear. He smiled at me, one eye

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Deep Diver

I knock on the partly open door and peek around the curtain. A grainy yellow light above the hospital bed falls on a frail, trembling woman as she struggles to comb her wet grey hair.

“Margaret?” I say quietly.

She does not hear me over the hiss of the supplemental oxygen. I watch her for a moment longer.

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Healing the Little Brain

I was twenty-eight when I first walked into Matthew’s room in the neurosurgery ward at the university medical center. A newly graduated physical therapist, I was working at my first job in the field. I was there to evaluate Matthew for physical therapy, and I had all the right gear–a white lab coat, running shoes, a stethoscope, a clipboard and a goniometer (an instrument that measures joint angles)–and an enthusiastic desire to help this young

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