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On My Mind
September 2014


Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

Copyright 2014 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168(9):795. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.115

His face will forever be etched in my memory. The resemblance to my oldest son was striking. He was a slender preteen lying in unfamiliar surroundings and looking distinctly out of place in his hospital gown. Gauze packing disfigured his delicately thin nose. But apart from the gown and the gauze, he looked normal, like he had just wandered off some nearby soccer pitch on a cool autumn morning, hair tousled and dirt in his fingernails.

He was in the hospital to receive a workup on a nosebleed. I sat down next to his bed and began a conversation. Despite attempts to amend the melancholic atmosphere with cheery decor, a somber spirit persisted. He had thus far weathered the storm of day-to-day care and the invasion of his privacy without much complaint. The nuisance of having to excuse himself to wash up during school had been frustrating but generally tolerable. When it simply would not stop bleeding, he was hospitalized for more testing.