Munsey S. Wheby, MD
Requests for Single Reprints: Munsey S. Wheby, MD, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Dean's Office, Box 800793, Charlottesville, VA 22908; e-mail, email@example.com.
Wheby M.; An Examination of Conscience. Ann Intern Med. 2002;136:486-487. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-136-6-200203190-00015
Download citation file:
Published: Ann Intern Med. 2002;136(6):486-487.
In the recent past, I had two febrile illnesses. The first was pneumonia. The second, despite immunization, was influenza.
During each of these illnesses, I had high fevers, shaking chills, and toxic delirium. And during the lucid moments of my first illness, my mind always seemed to return to my file of patients. Faces flew by. In sharpest focus were those who had died: effervescent, humorous Jean who made us laugh even as she was failing with chronic leukemia; gracious, courtly Franklin, who enthralled me with stories of his life and whose advancing infirmity prompted me to make housecalls, the memory of which now seemed most precious to me. I was overwhelmed with admiration for these brave patients. How many of them had presented an optimistic, often smiling persona during our short time together in the office or hospital, only subsequently to endure fear and uncertainty during long, lonely nights! In my feverish discomfort, I wondered how they had summoned the inner strength to deal with greater suffering and far more serious illnesses than my limited one. In fact, I became so overwhelmed by this feeling that during the fevers I asked my wife to write down my ramblings. It was a surprise to me when I read her notes after my recovery. She had captured the feelings I had experienced, yet they seemed other-worldly, as though the insights already were beginning to fade.
to gain full access to the content and tools.
Learn more about subscription options.
Register Now for a free account.
Copyright © 2016 American College of Physicians. All Rights Reserved.
Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
Conditions of Use
This PDF is available to Subscribers Only