My first meeting with a therapist was a success: she specialized in type-A personalities, was transparent about her eclectic approach, and her office – on the bottom floor of a converted San Francisco townhouse – felt somewhere still and safe, a purple-carpeted hideaway in the belly of the Earth. On the train out of the city, I watched my reflection melt in and out of the glass: I was a person ...

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I’ve named the woman lying on the dissection table Betty. She’s 92 and married, with three daughters, twice as many granddaughters, and a retriever named Boots to show for it. Her husband is a woodworker, the last of his generation. He carved Betty’s favorite rocking chair, the one she’d drag onto the porch when the chickadees were out, out of Carolina Cedar. Betty says she’s useless with a wood saw, ...

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Recently, FIGS – a design-driven medical apparel company – published its latest video advertisement: a young woman in bubblegum pink scrubs struts into view, shaking her FIGS-clad hips for the camera while holding a Medical Terminology for Dummies textbook upside-down. Forget practicing medicine; this woman isn’t fit to drive. The camera pans, emphatically, towards her badge, which reads DO – short for doctor of osteopathic medicine. Ahhh, the viewer is ...

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On a cold evening in early March, my grandpa and I queued outside a nursing home in rural California. He pulled an insulated lunchbox, filled with hot chai and pureed rotis, to his chest and sighed. There are at least eight families in front of us, and if we don’t move fast, my grandma will fall asleep before she’s had dinner. Twenty minutes later, we’ve reached the threshold: a nurse takes ...

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My parents’ pharmacy is a low slung, white brick building on the corner of East and Main. The front door is strung with silver bells;  a jar of red licorice sits by the cash register; automatic scooters line the front of the shop, gleaming like cars at the races. Most days, the pharmacy is a small business owner’s dream. The phone rings off the hook; and with twenty-nine employees, there’s always ...

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