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August 28, 1981

How's Her Appetite?

JAMA. 1981;246(9):948. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320090018019

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I said, "How's her appetite? Is she getting enough to eat?"

He said, "I think so, Doctor. Of course, I soften all her food. But she even has a hard time handling mashed things. She can't hardly swallow anything but liquids now."

She didn't say anything. She couldn't. She just started to weep.

I said, "There, there, don't cry. It'll be all right" (which was a lie).

He said, "She's having more trouble breathing now. She sometimes gasps."

I said, "You must see that she uses the oxygen mask when this happens. It's not an uncommon occurrence in patients with her disease."

She was sobbing harder and harder, and her head fell to one side and she started to drool. He carefully folded a white handkerchief under her chin to catch the spittle.

Then he said, "I think she needs something to support her head now, Doctor. She's so weak