what i learned at the hospital

You do not know a person until you know their suffering. You can learn more about a person in a few minutes talking about their suffering than in years of working or even living with them.

Patient-doctor visits at the public hospital were like short, intense performances on a tiny stage.

One young Nicaraguan man, tough, stocky, with huge flaring eyes and heavy silver jewelry on his fingers and wrists, is having severe cramping pains in his hands. He and the doctor, a skinny, pallid man, also young, with large boils on his neck, are at an impasse. There seems to be no medical reason for the Nicaraguan’s pain. Finally, as if struggling with himself over doing so, he tells the doctor that he was in a prison cell for ten years in his country, and ever since then—

Medically this solves nothing. But the man’s life is revealed. And this may be a necessary part of healing.