I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.
— Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
The landscape of theaters must be terrifying for patients, but it’s becoming normal for me. It’s amazing what you can get used to. Life wasn’t always like this.
The first operation that I watch is a heart-lung transplant. I am nineteen years old and still a student nurse. The operation takes so long: over twelve hours. It requires a team of surgeons to behave like a relay team; but instead of a baton, they pass between them a human heart and lungs. I’ve been looking after the patient waiting for the new set of lungs that day: a fourteen-year-old boy…
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