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uncomfortable and tried to think of the right thing to say before leaving. Herminio spoke first. “You are like God to me, Dr. Fournier.” He raised his voice and called out to nameless people passing in the corridor: “Dr. Fournier is God!” He grabbed my hand and kissed it. “Whenever I see you, it gives me hope.”

“Look at you. Can you seriously believe that? I’ve been your doctor for the past year and a half, and you’ve gotten continuously worse.”

“No matter. When I see you there is hope.”

“We’re not giving you medicines anymore. You will be going to a nursing home as soon as they can locate one that will accept you.”

I left the room and quickly found a sink to wash my hands. Herminio’s kiss had unnerved me. I visited Herminio two more times. The third time I stopped by his room it was occupied by another patient. The social worker on the floor informed me that she had found a place for him and that he had been transferred there earlier that morning. Although he was given a follow-up appointment, he never came. I assumed he did not last long in the nursing home.



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