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A Piece of My Mind
August 25, 1999


Author Affiliations

Edited by Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 1999;282(8):716-717. doi:10.1001/jama.282.8.716

The businesspeople in the Newark Airport Ambassador Lounge wear their importance on starched faces. Card-carrying members of the upwardly mobile, able-bodied set, they sip café mocha over cylindrical pretzels, while ambidextrously scanning the Internet for urgent e-mail. The word-pressured, time-pressured cerebral hemispheres are benignly neglectful of a world beyond self.

The bell is ringing in my reverie as I sit in the lounge, laptop in front of me. He is calling. The man who never called on me before, who never called on anyone—for anything. It is my turn to answer the auditory call-light in our homespun ICU. "COM-ING!" I shout, dashing down the dark, thin hallway to his room—the room my parents slept in for all the years of my life; the room into which I would tiptoe as a child, 3 AM, trembling from a nightmare, to beckon them to my aid.

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