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Saturday April 19, 2014
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Fungus Among Us



When I'd read about people having hallucinations, it sounded weird and terrifying. But in real life, sitting with a senior citizen, it wasn't so bad. I only wish he could have seen something more entertaining or inspiring, maybe a sports figure, a celebrity, or a lost loved one.


During a Friday morning visit, I happened to be there when Dr. Shalhoub, the pain specialist who gave the injections, came to visit. That poor fellow was in exquisite agony himself from having unknowingly caused so much suffering. He came to apologize and told us about his days visiting patient after patient that he'd treated. What a tragedy to befall someone like him--a man who chose a low-prestige specialty because he truly wanted to help people. His practice was in tatters as he scrambled to see infection cases, while prospective new patients headed for the hills. It made all the difference to us that he had the courage to come to visit. I managed a few inadequate words that hadn't occurred to me previously: "It's not your fault they supplied you with contaminated material."

"Thank you," he sighed. He looked relieved to have come into a room where he wasn't blamed--the contaminants' unwitting messenger.

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