Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

It could be bad

Photo by Jira on Rawpixel.

Paul Rousseau
Charleston, South Carolina, United States

The doctor poked and probed and prodded and pinched and rubbed his chin and clicked his pen and rose from his stool and breathed a groan, “Something is wrong, and it could be bad, is plausibly bad, is certainly bad, but not cancer bad, but bad heart bad, and I hate to say, there is no treatment,” and I stuttered and stammered in a lip-trembled voice, “There has to be something, an herb in Uruguay or a tonic in China,” and he grimaced and grunted, “There is no herb and there is no tonic, not even a potion from an Amazon shaman,” but he could refer me to a specialist, if I wanted him to, and I glanced at his credentials framed on the wall and said that would be fine, the sooner the better, and as I stood to leave, shaken and somber, I offered my hand and thanked him profusely.

PAUL ROUSSEAU (he/him/his) is a semi-retired physician and writer published in The Healing Muse, Blood and Thunder, Hektoen International, Intima. A Journal of Narrative Medicine, The Human Touch, Pulse. Voices From the Heart of Medicine, Please See Me, Months To Years, (mac)ro(mic), The Maine Review, 433 Literary Magazine, Sunspot Literary Magazine, The Examined Life, Dr. T. J. Eckleburg Review, Tendon, and others. Nominated for The Best Small Fictions anthology from Sonder Press, 2020. Lover of dogs.

Highlighted Vignette Volume 14, Issue 3 – Summer 2022

Spring 2022




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