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A color ink drawing of a  doctor is seating in the corner of a hospital room reviewing the heavy chart of his patient, who is also seated with an oxygen box by his feet.

'21 Years with Cystic Fibrosis'
(ink drawing with tempera, 21.5' x 29')
©May H. Lesser


The pulmonary pediatrician proudly asserts, "During my lifetime we have learned to detect the gene that carries the cystic fibrosis disease. It can be seen in the newly fertilized egg and in the fetus in utero -- whether the baby will have C.F. or be a carrier like his parents. And then, in the newborn, with the disease, we are experimenting with gene therapy, inserting the normal gene via a virus to line the airways, attaching where the chromosome should be. But we still have patients with the disease."

He reviews the heavy chart of one who has been his patient for 21 years, now with an oxygen box by his feet. The sickly thin young man reports that he does not sleep well at night. "From pain?" his doctor asks. And so he writes a prescription for medication. After the consultation, I ask the doctor, about to retire at 70, what it did to him to go to his patients' funerals all of his medical career. He answers, "Being at the death bedside is harder, when you have known the patient for decades."