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A Piece of My Mind
August 17, 2011

Parallel Universe

Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Senior Editor.

Author Affiliation: Narrative Connections Consulting, Dialogue and Discourse in the Medical Setting, Portland, Oregon (

JAMA. 2011;306(7):686-687. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1128

Illness is the night-side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick.—Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor

Leaning against the cold metal rails of his hospital bed, I look down at my husband lying flat on his back, his dark skin almost as fair as mine under the harsh glare of fluorescent ceiling lights. The nurse sits next to his bed reading the cardiologist's notes to us from the computer.

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