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On Being a Patient |

From the Green City

Antoinette Rose, MD
[+] Article and Author Information

Camino Medical Group; Los Altos, CA 94022 Requests for Reprints: Antoinette Rose, MD, 4906 El Camino Real, Los Altos, CA 94022.


Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1997;127(10):921. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-127-10-199711150-00012
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Willie wasn't really a hospital volunteer, but he liked to think he was. Not that it was so hard to become a hospital volunteer, but actually being one would have ruined it for him somehow. Besides, the application to become a volunteer-two pages of little boxes and lines-required a grip on reality that just didn't interest Willie. A few real things interested him. First, he liked the blue coats that the volunteers got to wear. Being resourceful, he managed a decent facsimile from an old work shirt that he found in a garbage bin at 24th and Kansas and just as soon forgot that he found that way. He believed, and told many people, that it had been his father's. He also liked the fancy name tags that the volunteers got to wear; those were beyond his resources but not his charm, for he talked a newfound friend in Personnel-bribed him with three dirty stories and half a pack of dirty cigarettes (scrounged from 24th and Utah)-into making him a shiny plastic name tag that just said, “Willie-Hospital Volunteer.” He liked it that way, wouldn't have wanted or known or remembered what to offer as a last name.

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