E2, Brute?

The Best of The Week

Day one of Hospice, things were confusing, as the Medical Director from the sub acute facility said one thing and did another. Looking back, I think my husband was already beginning to die. The first night I had to call the hospice nurse since he became more restless and spiked a fever. She told me what to do then said she'd come in the morning.

Her initial assessment was 6-8 weeks, then he'd slip into a coma. That first night I slept squeezed between the bed railing and his thin body, stroking his hair, singing Amazing Grace and Swing Low Sweet Chariot until I lost my voice and fell asleep for four hours.

Day two of Hospice, while one son had to go to Philadelphia for business, the nurse re-assessed my husband and said he had already started the transition, and had possibly 24-48 hours. She changed his meds, and said to administer more of some, every two hours. My daughter took the day off from work, quietly sitting on the sofa in front of the wood stove, with firewood…

I saw a patient this week with a success story.

P comes in a couple of months ago distraught. Miserable. New situation at work and P is the rock, the anchor, the glue that holds things together, the stability of the operation. P does not want to quit but the shift in the situation makes P miserable. P's body is tense, fired up, all adrenalin, inflammed.

We do labs and talk. The labs are normal.

We talked and in the context of P's life. P has been…

My mother tells stories about me learning to talk.

"You would play under the table while your father and I and friends would play poker. One night someone said, "Goddamn it to hell!" and you said it right back. So your first words were "Goddamn it to hell!"

My parents also had a phrase that they would say to me. "Say "Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny." Any baby will try to parrot back any phrase that seems important or is used often. So I learned to…