Four o’clock on a Friday afternoon is an anxiety-inducing time to be running behind in clinic as patients and staff both begin to show signs of wanting to leave. After finishing with a particularly complicated case involving chronic pain with multiple spinal and abdominal surgeries, I rushed into the room of the patient scheduled for 3 p.m. frazzled. The patient was an elderly man, seated with arms folded, looking sternly ...

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If I hadn’t heard her sob, I might not have looked up. I was so immersed in her story, and so fixated on my own studious note-taking, that I didn’t doubt the steady rhythm of her voice until I heard it break. Huda’s (name changed) eyes were filling with tears, and I quickly handed over the tissue box, feeling that its trifling weight was an apt metaphor for how little ...

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“Apocalyptic” was the word used by my fellow volunteers at the local church, a temporary shelter for displaced families on post-hurricane-landfall day 3. Although the flooded roads harboring similarly displaced alligators, fire ants, and snakes and the black flecks in the sky representing rescue helicopters were grossly removed from the many-eyed beasts of Revelations, I agreed with their assessment. In fact, the thousands of flooding victims stranded on roofs in ...

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