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On Being a Doctor |

The Iridescence of Old Ladies

John McClenahan, MD
[+] Article and Author Information

From Richmond, VA 23226.


Requests for Single Reprints: John McClenahan, MD, 4703 Pocahontas Avenue, Richmond, VA 23226; e-mail, assyuti@comcast.net.


Ann Intern Med. 2005;142(3):224. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-142-3-200502010-00018
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When she was 74 years old, Mrs. V. withdrew to Heavenly Rest in suburban Philadelphia, a flat, tidy nursing home of cinderblock design calling to mind a small hosiery mill. Parking is provided. A bed of marigolds, a glassed-in vestibule, gray linoleum, Naugahyde settees, a receptionist in a cerise smock. The air is close, faintly ammoniacal. Guests align the walls in wheelchairs, some drowsy, some in an attitude of listening. The women's hair is thinning; their cheeks pale as candles. Men wear gray wrappers, exposing their knees.

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