The Urban Resident Local Doc on the Block

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In Memoriam

Dwight and I sat in his small apartment and talked about our memories from Pine Street, the neighborhood we had first become friends and neighbors. He was grinning in a mischievous way and I knew something good was coming. “When I first met you, you were juggling outside, and I thought,” he paused to…

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The Resurrection

The nurse, the wife, the niece, and I sat together in the small family room, quietly thinking. I felt insulated from the sounds of the busy hospital even as my pager chirped a warning that our ICU was about to get even busier. I resisted the temptation to sit on the edge of the seat and betray the…

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Ashes to Ashes

This Monday our family went to the funeral of Uncle Ron, whom I barely knew. An uncle twice removed, we had met perhaps four times in life: his daughter’s wedding, my wedding, and two family reunions. Our conversations were brief but good. The first one was him telling me how…

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Dead Bodies and Lamentations

What do you do with a dead body in the room? My first dead patient arrived that way. He was half naked, pupils blown, head bashed in from a car accident in which he was thrown through the windshield. It was my first week on the wards as a medical student and though…

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Scum of the World

I could hear the cussing from inside the room and noted the awkward glances of nearby nurses and staff who turned to look and gawk. Even though I only sat a few feet outside the door, I ignored the increasingly loud litany of expletives and deliberately focused on the screen in front of me. He was my patient and I…

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Trauma: What Freud Learned About Rape

In medical school we glossed over Freud because psychoanalysis had largely become outdated. Popular culture has turned his method into a mockery; we chuckle to think of the bearded psychiatrist listening intently to some dude reclining on a sofa talking at length about the hidden sexual meaning underlying his bedwetting dreams. In the new era of cognitive behavioral…