Michael J. Barry, MD
Requests for Single Reprints: Michael J. Barry, MD, Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 40 Court Street, Suite 300, Boston, MA 02108; e-mail, email@example.com.
Barry M.; Good Night, Irene. Ann Intern Med. 2011;154:209-210. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-154-3-201102010-00013
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2011;154(3):209-210.
Over her 18 years as my patient, Irene was fond of proving me wrong.
The latest lesson came just last week. I had seen her recently for a routine visit. She was 87 and came in as usual, bent over her rolling walker, dressed to the nines in pearls, rouge, lipstick, and a trademark enormous bow in her thinning hair. Legally blind owing to macular degeneration, she couldn't quite color “in the lines” with her lipstick, but it was the thought that counted. She came by the MBTA's ride program, which she accepted only after years of urging when she fell down the rusting stairs of the subway stop by my hospital and fractured her wrist. She was feeling pretty well that day, although her osteoarthritic knees were giving her increasing trouble. She left with a smile and a big “cheerio,” her own brand of goodbye. For some unclear reason, we decided to give each other a hug at the checkout desk—for the first time, I think. We didn't appreciate the portent.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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