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A Piece of My Mind
March 23 2011

Drawer on the Right

JAMA. 2011;305(12):1176-1177. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.343

My apologies to Dr Porter: I cannot remember you as I should, sitting here rummaging through my right lower desk drawer, the once privileged spot, keeper of the humanities in my office of medicine. You left medicine, or so I thought, a bit young, in a way I did not understand, but that was not my station. You left soon after I arrived and I was asked to create and present to you a plaque at your going-away dinner, a heady experience for a young physician; the inscription I chose was by Bashō, being about temple bells and the persistence of sound. I was around you long enough to know that much and at the time believed in coincidence, of mantles being handed, of continuity, but now I see I really didn't know you that well and have found I was not up to the task after all.