WELLNESS
05/02/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

The Healing Power Of Comfort And Compassion

I never really got to know the young woman. I met her during my third-year psychiatry rotation, when our team was consulted for concerns about depression.

Privacy rules won't allow me to use her name (where possible, I've gotten consent from the others involved in this story). She was terminally ill, sick not just with the disease but with all the complications of its treatment, and confined to bed in the intensive care unit.

By the time I met her she could barely speak. Her face was a vacant yellow moon, and her sparse, colorless hair sprawled tangled and sweat-soaked across her pillow.

What I did come to know of her was through her boyfriend, Josh. They had been together since middle school and had stayed together even as the rest of her life fell apart.

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