nurse has written 47 posts for My Life with Lora Z


The traffic on Mercy seemed to be going no faster than five miles an hour. It was still early in the morning. The sun had not risen far above the squat houses to the East. Across the street the cemetery lay quiet and dark, the carefully manicured lawn murky and mud-colored in the dim light. … Continue reading

I feel fine

It takes awhile, but Allison finally convinces you to sit up. First you rolled over on your back and stared up at the sky, so full of the starless moonless dark, and then at Allison’s shadowed face, searching for an expression your aching head could comprehend, something understanding, sympathetic, and loving. You finger your lower … Continue reading

Shell games

When Isaiah finally drifted back toward the car, Kevin asked about Jodie’s suicide attempt, how long ago it had been, what he had done. Because Jodie didn’t seem like the type of person who would do that, he said. He seemed happy. Was it over something with Danielle? Isaiah shook his head. His brow was … Continue reading

We were all friends

I don’t know. Maybe I was too friendly. Led him on so that he got the wrong idea about us. All of this stuff—dating, love, doing the right thing—it’s so hard when you’re young. Feels impossible sometimes. I liked Kevin. He was my best friend. But I just didn’t like him in that romantic kind … Continue reading

So difficile

This time the photograph is of a butterfly. Large, heart-shaped wings spread from one border to another, yellow at the center and flaring out to white, specks of white between chains of black. The butterfly caught in flight somewhere over a field of waving sunflowers in some Midwestern meadow, far from here. The time before in another … Continue reading

Conversations with Doctor K, II

“I had a sinkful of dishes, and I’d put them out on the counter on a towel like I do when I’m getting ready to wash them … and I did that three days ago,” I said, laughing afterward. “You did what now?” “I did it three days ago. I was going to wash dishes, … Continue reading

Hang on to each other

He was dead probably before the ambulance arrived at the hospital. I stood at the window in my bedroom, peering down the street where, on an otherwise quiet morning, two cop cars, a fire truck, and an ambulance from a local volunteer squad—as well as a quaint red Chevy truck from the same squad—were parked. … Continue reading

Real to real

For once, everything seemed so clear in the hospital. As I had told Misti on several occasions, I was headed back to school for something fun this time—the culinary arts. I didn’t have any grand aspirations to become a chef or run my own restaurant, nothing committal like that—I just didn’t want to be lame … Continue reading

Getting away

Monday, February 17 In good spirits with Mom. We joke that we’re making a break for it, a hospital break, we’re gonna bust out of here. Few people overhear us in the hall or foyer, and even fewer smile in our direction. I know that I am a strange sight down here in this open … Continue reading

Happy Heart’s Day

Friday, February 14 Happy Heart’s Day The sweetest thing. Margie and Misti, the two CNAs I usually interact with, surprised me with a gift this afternoon. A fragrance set for my home, made of glass, as well as a plush, pink cat, (“We heard a rumor about you liking cats,” said Misti with a grin), … Continue reading


Saturday, February 8 A quiet night. I dozed the previous evening, wasn’t aware of Mom’s leaving. Rita, the night nurse, was in early this morning to draw blood and push meds through my PICC line. Felt strange. I could feel the saline push move through the line into my chest a little bit. Felt like … Continue reading

A serene moment

Wednesday, February 5 A serene moment My IV’s leaking, the skin on the left hand is puffy. Jenni comes in to switch the IV to my right hand. So many IV sticks over these days, starting to get to me a little, drives home that I’m ill (also the bruises on my arms everywhere). Something … Continue reading

broken everything

over the past few days i’ve been dealing with an exacerbation of my symptoms that i am having difficulty explaining. a sensation of fullness at the top of my abdomen, at the area of my diaphragm, just below the sternum, and an ungodly amount of referred pain in my lower back. i was worried about … Continue reading


Monday morning, a couple days before Christmas, you drove into the city to see the sick people at Bergan Mercy. You took an illegal shortcut through the parking garage on the west end of Mercy street, pulling the steering wheel right and then left and then right again, and chose a stall some distance away … Continue reading

Geniuses, pt. 2

It was a little past five, and we were halfway home. For the last hour the most intense shade of gold had blued and blued itself down, and now outside our windows the land was metal. The sky had shrunk to a ribbon of warm color between the blackness of the horizon and outer space. … Continue reading

Geniuses, pt. 1

Mom’s body tensed. Her hands were paralyzed against her chest at weird right angles, flat as paddles, as if suddenly she had gone into seizure. Hurr, she drooled, durr-hurrggh-durr. DURR! I grinned and laughed softly, not wanting her to know she’d gotten me to smile. But she continued and soon it was too much, I … Continue reading

They all fall down

You could hear the disapproval in Nurse Geri’s voice this morning when you called to report your symptoms. She had wanted to know how many tablets of azathioprine you were on now, and she asked this question by repeating the most recent notes in your patient file. “Back in August it looks like you were … Continue reading

Conversations with Doctor K

“The WF thing,” I said, sounding disgusted, “that’s a fucking joke.” “What happened there?” “So we’ve been sending messages back and forth for months, right, and toward the end they were getting long and we were basically trading anecdotes, stories about our lives. It was pretty harmless, but she knew I liked her and I … Continue reading

Degrees removed

DEGREES REMOVED It was late Sunday evening when I finally left CF’s house. The sun had fallen an hour earlier and taken the warm weather down with it, to the point that hanging out on the front porch I could almost see my breath. The air smelled damp and of wood smoke, of old fires … Continue reading


haven’t slept in what feels like awhile, tried tonight but just lay there thinking about wf, the letter, my gracious response to the letter which, if written now, would be a little more curious, not so gracious. part of me just doesn’t understand. she can’t do this anymore because it got a little serious, maybe … Continue reading

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