I imagine the world as a vast, boundless frontier weathered by our swirling human emotions and complicated energies -- hurricanes of intense heartbreak and tornadoes of joyous, unbridled celebrations, with every weather pattern in between. Sunshine and rain included. If I could gather this world, foolishly believing that I could sweep my arms and hands through the unsuspecting air to collect a smaller, more-contained version of reality, I know with absolute ...

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I usually work two or three shifts a month at a small, rural hospital about two hours from where I live. Why? Mainly, the small hospital is less than ten miles from my childhood home, where my widowed father still resides, and thus provides me an opportunity to catch up with Dad as well as four of my siblings and their families, all who live within five miles of Dad. I ...

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It had been a high-speed motor-vehicle accident. One car. A twenty-something male driver without passengers. No seat belt. And now, this same driver had no movement from his waist down and no sensations below his mid-abdomen. According to bystanders, he had been driving his sedan dangerously fast, some estimates of nearly 100 m.p.h., before losing control. The car veered off the roadway to the right, flipping mid-air before smacking head-on into ...

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I had been running late on another busy summer day. The type of day where you gain one step and lose two. Meetings and paperwork had filled up another summer morning. Baseball games, swimming practices, and soccer scrimmages had filled up another summer afternoon. And for this particular summer evening, I was scheduled to work an odd emergency room shift from eight p.m. to four a.m. While driving to work, I ...

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I walked into Room 22 to find a very interesting patient who presented to our ER with complaints of abdominal pain and associated nausea and vomiting. The patient sat on her cot with her pant legs rolled up above her knees, refusing, according to her nurse, Gwen, to put on a treatment gown. Her left leg hung in the air, her ankle crossed over the knee of her right leg. Her ...

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They made a regal couple, the elderly man and woman sitting in Room 19. She was the patient, he the supportive husband. She sat in the treatment cot while he sat in a chair pulled near her bedside. Together, they greeted me with their warm smiles as I walked into their room. They both had full heads of healthy, silvery hair that shimmered from the overhead fluorescent bulbs. Their eyes were ...

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shutterstock_128891225 As a typical guy, there are several painful illnesses that can hit our brotherhood in an instant. No warning given. No "Get out of jail free" pass, either. Just cruising along, having another fine, healthy day and baam! -- suddenly you are lying on the floor in severe distress. The most feared? A testicular torsion. It can happen spontaneously. It can happen ...

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I walked into Room 35 to find a three year-old lying on the hospital cot. Her father sat alongside her bed, whispering softly to her. The patient appeared quite tired, wiped-out even, and if it weren't for her complacent eyes tracking my every move, I would have thought she might be sleeping. She was visiting our ER because, after a few days of cough and congestion, she had developed a fever. ...

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She was 50. Prior to being transported to our ER, her only complaint had been for non-traumatic elbow pain over the past two weeks. She was on no medications and had no significant medical history. She was at home, preparing to visit her doctor for a scheduled visit, when she collapsed. Because she didn't drive, her elderly father had planned on swinging by to pick her up. He had just called ...

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The patient arrived in cardiac arrest. He had been brought to our emergency department in the middle of the night. Although he had a significant cardiac history, he was only in his late-forties. His transport from his house to our department had been less than ten minutes and, along the way, the pre-hospital team had done an excellent job of intubating this patient and establishing an IV. His wife was with ...

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