My Small Step

As you reflect on your life thus far, what has someone said, written or expressed in some fashion that is especially meaningful to you?

When Neil Armstrong landed on the moon and unraveled one very small piece of the galactic mystery, he said, "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." However, my "small step" in unraveling a different mystery started in a very different setting.

"Code Blue! Room 31 North!" Alarms blared as nurses frantically paged one doctor after another. Within minutes, doctors from every direction swarmed into one room only to file out somberly before the crash cart even arrived. Finally, the last doctor came out and was immediately besieged by the patient's relatives. He apologized, "Lo siento." The family broke down in inconsolable wails, and my heart crashed. Why does it have to be that happy nine-month-old infant who always wore a smile despite the fact that she had more tubes connected to her than she had blood vessels? Was it just last week when I played with her, keeping her company while her parents worked? Although she had both spina bifida and end-stage cancer, she was a brave little girl. For the first time in my life, I witnessed death happening before my eyes. In my subsequent volunteering at the cancer ward and at the PICU in Lucille Packard Children's...

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