A Piece of My Mind |


J. O. Ballard, MD
JAMA. 2009;301(2):140-141. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.978.
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As a boy of 8, I remember him standing at our kitchen stove in his overcoat heating a glass syringe and hypodermic needle in a sauce pan of water. He hummed a tune and watched me from the corner of his eye as the water began to boil. He filled the cooled syringe from a vial that made a squeaking sound as the needle pierced the rubber top. He then marched past me with urgency to my parents' bedroom where Grandma lay moaning. After injecting her arm he sat by her bed watching her drift into a comforting sleep. “I’ll be back tonight. Try to get her to take some soup,” he called over his shoulder as he quickly exited into the still dark and cold early morning.


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