Harry understood at last that he was not supposed to survive. His job was to walk calmly into Death’s welcoming arms … All those times he had thought that it was about to happen and escaped, he had never really thought of the thing itself: His will to live had always been so much stronger than his fear of death … It was over, he knew it, and all that ...

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The day I met Mr. Lightfoot, he was a medical curiosity on teaching rounds, “a great example of a Sister Mary Joseph’s Nodule,” a sign of metastatic stomach cancer. Earl was lying in a hospital bed in the cancer unit of the hospital, his stomach completely distended, nauseous and vomiting, unable to eat anything. He had undergone a cycle of chemotherapy only days before. I organized Mr. Lightfoot into a problem ...

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I grew up in a house of spirituality, homeopathy, palmistry, astrology, art, and science alike. My father, with a masters degree in statistics, is a computer systems architect. He also fancies himself an amateur palm reader. The irritation with which I reluctantly used to give my hands over to my father, before the SATs, college decisions, medical school admissions, and my residency match results was real, but I was always ...

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