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17 October 2010

Incredible

I've been working at the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital for the past month.  The Shattuck is a place that is heavy on the sick and light on hope.  Hospital for the street people of Boston, there are five locked mental health wings, a tuberculosis wing, a prison unit and several wings devoted to medical issues.  Many of the patients at the Shattuck have multiple diagnosis: chronic conditions compounded by years of battles with the elements and controlled substances along with a particular acute medical issue (or issues) that have landed them in the hospital.

I've been reticent in sharing stories of my time there due to concerns about patient confidentiality and the like.  But I need to share this and I do so with the permission of a patient.  He wrote me a poem, you see, and asked me to type it out.  I tucked it in my pocket and have only now had time to examine it.  And it's the most extraordinary piece of work I've seen in a long while.  I'm in the midst of deciphering his handwriting, but when I'm done, I'll publish it here.  I think you'll find it incredible too.

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