"I don't just read Pulse, I adore it." --Donald Berwick MD
"He's just expired," said the nurse as I approached Ray's room in the large inner-city hospital where I work as a patient advocate. "And his wife has just arrived. Why don't you go in?"
I found Natalie bent over Ray's body. His hollow cheek was drenched with her tears.
"I'm so sor--"
"I told him yesterday to talk to Jesus," Natalie interrupted, speaking quickly. "I told him if the two of them decided it was time for him to go, then it was okay with me. I guess they had their talk," she said, glancing at Ray as though expecting an answer.
I’m walking very slowly with my dad down the produce aisle at the local supermarket, past the colorful waxed apples, Mexican mangoes and Rainier cherries, and imagining my life's blood trickling onto the floor from an invisible wound.
As I pass by the misting system spraying the bins of green, red, yellow and orange peppers, past the lady reaching for carrots, past the stock guy balancing the heirloom tomatoes into a precarious stack, I want to scream. The sense of loss is overpowering.
But no one notices as I inwardly watch my life’s blood--my father, age eighty-six--flow away, here in the grocery store.
I feel as if we’ve walked these aisles together forever. When I was a child, my father worked in a supermarket. He taught me how to bag groceries, cut meat, fill displays and manage people. One of my earliest memories is of riding on the checkout conveyor belt; I couldn’t have been more than three. Now, decades later, we shop together again. Here in this store, I feel the passage of time, and the forces of change, most acutely.
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.
Click to read more or to purchase.