Mullberry Whine

poured out before bed

Blueberry

blueberry3

…not actually tasty (adapted from Disposable Nitrile Glove by TJWood)…

Born on a face painfully disfigured by a rare form of cancer, his expression is one of fear masked by resignation, a combination that has all the appearance of emptiness.  The appropriate cheerfulness of the resident is sucked into that awkward vacuum as he goes about the history and physical, his kindness left as blunted at the patient’s affect.  As is too often and unavoidably the case in such instances of unexpected and aggressive malignancy, the physical and emotional suffering of the patient is only magnified by the efforts of the oncology team, who cannot offer the type of hope that promises time in any quantity beyond quality.

The final part of the physical exam is thorough palpation of the patient’s oral cavity with gloved hands.  The resident apologizes for the unpleasantness of this last leg of our interaction and fiddles with the bright blue nitriles on the wall.

“You know, it’s too bad they don’t make flavored gloves,” I say, winking at the young man on the exam table.

The patient places his hands on his hips and from deep in his chest comes a rumbling that quickly fills the great void of his expression.  He throws his head back and laughs, too loudly, for too long, until there are tears streaming down his face.

The resident and I stand on either side of him, the resident rubbing his shoulder, I holding his hand, thinking of the vinegar of broken dreams, the salt of death, and of blueberry flavored gloves.

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13 comments on “Blueberry

  1. kindredspirit23
    August 20, 2012

    So sad…

    • mullberrywhine
      August 20, 2012

      This rotation is so full of those moments, those stark realizations, that I’ve rarely escaped a day wherein the drive home is not peppered with tears.

      • kindredspirit23
        August 21, 2012

        Yet, you do it; that’s the special part of you. I, many times, had the same teaching middle school emotional needs children.

        • mullberrywhine
          August 21, 2012

          Oh, I can imagine that would be awfully bittersweet work – it takes a special person to step into that sort of young tragedy…

          • kindredspirit23
            August 21, 2012

            Same as with you. I can’t think of many people who would work long and do well with people, many of whom are going to died in a bad way.

  2. ElizabethWolf
    August 21, 2012

    All of your posts came through as I boarded the plane home from San Francisco. I read every one on the plane. The man next to me attempted to catch a glimpse of what was sending me through such a gamut of emotions. Thank you for sharing these stories. They are heart wrenching and inspiring and humbling all at the same time somehow. And now I will take a bath.

    • mullberrywhine
      August 21, 2012

      Thank you for reading and contemplating and feeling – that’s what Mullberry Whine is all about at it’s core, I think. That and the ardent support of long, luscious bubble baths, of course. 😉

  3. Doodlemum
    September 9, 2012

    So emotive and so heartfelt. I’m picturing blueberry gloves, such an image! Thank you 🙂

    • mullberrywhine
      September 9, 2012

      Thank you for taking a moment to read, and yet another to leave a kind comment!

  4. johnnysenough hepburn
    September 22, 2012

    So beautifully written. I’ll be dipping into many more of your posts.

  5. Julia Light
    September 23, 2012

    conciseness & clarity of form combined with humor and tragedy makes for engaging prose. well written! keep it up!

    • mullberrywhine
      September 23, 2012

      There is something both odd and lovely about the juxtaposition of two different genres, if you will… Many thanks for your kind comment.

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From the Cellar

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House Rules

Creative Commons License
Nothing under the table.
***
The views expressed on "Mullberry Whine" are NOT intended to diagnose or treat disease.
***
The med-ed related stories described here are based on real events. Details have been changed in accordance with HIPAA de-identification guidelines to protect confidentiality.
***
Mullberry Whine can be enjoyed daily; there is no unsafe quantity. Real wine, though, should be enjoyed in moderation. At-Risk Drinking for males under 65 is defined as >14 alcoholic beverages per week or >4/day, with >7 drinks a week or >3/day being the cut-off for females under 65 and for anyone, male or female, who has graced this planet for 65 years for more. Drink Mullberry Whine like there are no consequences. But drink alcohol responsibly. Your friends, your family, your health-care provider, and your liver - heck, ALL of the organs in your body - will thank you.
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