"I don't just read Pulse, I adore it." --Donald Berwick MD
Lying in bed and waiting for the purple
bruises to fade from my arms,
I remember the grinding pebbles underfoot
when I gave in to the muscular embrace of the ocean.
Now I rest in the wash of what has been accomplished.
A shallow golden river is pouring itself over stones,
over this empty husk, scooped shell of waiting
for transformation. Also transportation:
I need a fresh itinerary now
a dismantled world is being reassembled;
new map of stars I gaze at from the cool
tank of silence where I lie back, bathe,
and wait for the purple to fade.
"Ray, can you bring me some Poligrip?" says the message on my voice mail. "My teeth are falling out."
I know Barbara means just her uppers, because she has no bottom teeth.
"I don't get my check until Tuesday," she adds. It's now Friday afternoon.
I smile, thinking, Where does she think I might get Poligrip? Does she think I have a supply in my desk drawer?
The support staff, who have a lot of items, won't have Poligrip. If I asked them for it, however, they too would smile.
Smile is the word you want to remember in this account, because Barbara makes me smile--and I especially value those who can do so these days.
"I feel bad..." Amy whispered, then paused.
I'm a family-medicine resident, and I was doing my gynecology rotation, which involved spending a few days at a Planned Parenthood facility. This was my first day. I'd been assigned a patient to shadow: a young woman named Amy, who was here to have a first-trimester abortion.
I'm a fan of Planned Parenthood's work providing high-quality, affordable contraceptive and gynecological care. In college, when I lost my health insurance, I'd gone to Planned Parenthood for birth control. Now, as a doctor in training, I was curious to see how the clinic worked from the inside.
a treasury of compelling stories and poems.
Includes The Resilient Heart , Babel: The Voices of a Medical Trauma and Confessions of a Seventy-Five-Year-Old Drug Addict. Foreword by Maureen Bisognano, President of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
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