55-Word Stories

Experience
Two high-risk children. The mom, just 13, working the streets, living chaos complicated by heroin and spirochetes. Yet, she cared for her new baby with confidence. She met my doubts with folded arms: “Who do you think took care of all those babies my five older sisters had? My Mama and me.” Hard-earned experience.
William R. Phillips, MD, MPH
Phillips WR. Life in 55 words. Family Medicine 2011;43(2):123-4.

 Never Alone
Captivated by the harmony, I sat outside the old man’s room. Generations filled it with their voices, summoned by the sons who had carried the patriarch in on a chair three days earlier. After midnight, the family filed out, all 17. “We’re just helping Grandpa cross over.” I entered and stayed until the journey’s end.
William R. Phillips, MD, MPH
Phillips WR. Life in 55 words. Family Medicine 2011;43(2):123-4.

Still of the Night
Just the doctor on-call for OB, I did what I could. The night was long and the labor hard. Mourning came before daybreak. Months later at the mall, we recognized each other, clothed for the first time. “Thank you for taking care of our little Ryan. We can try again next year, Dr Mackenzie says.”
William R. Phillips, MD, MPH
Phillips WR. Life in 55 words. Family Medicine 2011;43(1):45-6.

For information on the 55-word story format, see:
Fogarty CT.  Fifty-five word stories: “small jewels” for personal reflection and teaching. Phillips WR. Family Medicine 2010; 42(6):400-2.

© 2011. Society of Teaches of Family Medicine

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1 Response to 55-Word Stories

  1. These are great! Powerful and precise.

    Like

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