Swallowing Glass

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I realize that my narrative medicine posts have been morose but the stories have been writing themselves. My career has been mostly joyous but these stories of suffering, my own and my patients’ need to be told.

Friday Fictioneers
Photo copyright @Marie Gail Stratford

Swallowing Glass
By Tracey Delaplain, MD

Like swallowing shards of glass, that’s what it feels like.

I stared vacantly through the blood red crystals and replayed the last minutes in the operating room. All the protective doctor speak couldn’t isolate me now.

“A chance to cut is a chance to cure.” “The mets always win.” “All bleeding stops eventually.”

The bleeding didn’t stop until the last heart beat. The cancer wasn’t supposed to win this time but it did. The one chance to cure had eluded us. The mets won again and my patient died, her precious blood crystallizing on the operating room floor.

One tear, one dose of swallowed glass and I have to go back and take another chance.


27 responses to “Swallowing Glass

  1. A glimpse into the doctor’s world …What a sad story Tracey, but very well written. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Faced with situations like this all the time it has to be so difficult to cope but then when there is the patient that is cured and thrives is has to be so rewarding. This was a beautifully written post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good story Tracy and I think swallowing glass would be horrible! I don’t even like really stale chips. Hope you have a good week! Nan 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I think your POV is going to bring more wonderful stories like this one to FF.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree: a powerful story. A sad ending to this visit to the operating room – but, as you say, there are more rewards than tragedies in your line of work. That’s a comforting thought. Well written, Tracy, 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “like swallowing shards of glass…” now i know doctors have feelings, too. i always thought that they are no longer humans. great story.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Powerful writing. I love that you’re bringing your life experience to these 100 words. Very moving.
    Just one thing – I would have liked just a line to know just a little more of who ‘she’, the patient, was.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A powerfully-written glimpse into the world of doctor and terminally ill patient. Very sad.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I saw it all – the movie played in my mind. You must have put it there. Well written!


    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dear Tracey,

    Magnificent. The POV in your story gives us much to think about. Beautifully done and heartfelt.



    Liked by 1 person

  11. Dear Tracey,

    Powerful drug, your writing. Do not stop.

    Thanks and Aloha,


    Liked by 1 person

  12. It must be terrible every time it happens.. I wouldn’t like to have to harden myself against such pain.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. What a well-drawn and humanizing depiction of the lives doctors lead. I’ve always been amazed that people of the same species as I can do all this. Hatts off!

    Liked by 1 person

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