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September 1, 1989

So Long, Coffee Shop

Author Affiliations

Pittsburgh, Pa

Pittsburgh, Pa

JAMA. 1989;262(9):1234. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430090096042

At first, watching new grandparents in the Women's Hospital coffee shop is diverting and fills some of my idle time. I can spot them from across the room. They talk incessantly and seem to be the only people smiling. They discuss matters such as "Should we get the bed jacket or the plant?" In the end, they often buy both.

Sometimes there are as many as a dozen of them, chattering to anyone who will listen about this miracle in their lives.

I belong to a different group of coffee shop regulars... silent, coffee-sipping men whose wives are patients on one of the oncology units. We look like dark silhouettes against the bright backdrop of grandparents. Although we men rarely speak, each of us seems to know who the others are.

It is obvious that these men are not good at networking or forming support groups when they are suffering.