Medicine and the Humanities.doc - MEDICINE AND THE HUMANITIES By Dr Florentino Herrera My dear Dean In two months I am going to die Perhaps earlier

Medicine and the Humanities.doc - MEDICINE AND THE...

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MEDICINE AND THE HUMANITIES By Dr. Florentino Herrera My dear Dean: In two months, I am going to die. Perhaps earlier, perhaps later. No matter now. The cold objective fact is that my blood will cease to function – my eyes shall no longer see a smile, my ears no longer hear laughter, my heart no longer love. When my last breath will leave my body, I shall be covered with a white sheet and taken away to where the ritual of death will be replayed amid a thousand candles. In this hospital where I lie dying, I will have become another chart filed away. What symbol is it that marks cessation of life and the end of the usefulness of a chart? Cold indeed is a fact of death. And to you I must sound now as cold and objective and hard. If so, I am now what I have been exposed to these long months. I mirror those who have ministered to me, cold, objective and hard. I cannot seem to help myself. How could I, to them because they are men of science and my body is matter. Again and again, my flesh has been stabbed by countless needles, my limbs cut up for another blood vessel – all accomplished within a given time by skillful hands – yes, hands rather faceless hands. After that first surgery, when I complained that pain was unbearably intense, while shapes criss- crossed from every side of my bed, arms and hands lifted my gown, probed into my wounds, thrust cold instruments into my chest, and jabbed more needles into my already tired body. The pains increased until they further jabbed me every four hours. Could they have not known what I needed was the feel of the human in their hands, not that of the cold stethoscope? Did they know how much a warm smile, a hand squeeze, a carrying
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