When I read Hege Lepri’s short story Things They Don’t Tell You, two parts of my life came together. One part of my life is medical and the other is writing. They are separate – sometimes I think that each is embarrassed about the other. The embarrassment is not their problem, however. It is my problem. Even though it doesn’t mean to, this story helped me with this problem. Even though it doesn’t mean to, this story helped me, and isn’t that a sign of great writing?
The medical part of my life is familiar with caregivers and this is a poignant story about being a caregiver. Caregivers are unsung heroes in the healthcare system. They are the link between health care institution and home. They are vital in ensuring the best care for any person who needs medical care. They are often entirely ignored.
Someone I knew very well in another time is an advocate for caregivers – she herself has been a caregiver. Even though the author did not know this person, she honours her in her story. As I read this story, I can see this caregiver and know something of her most difficult days.
The writing part of my life strives to achieve what this author has accomplished. How I would love to write a simple story as perfect as this story! Each word is precise, each image sharply drawn. It takes much more skill to show us who a caregiver is in ten paragraphs than in ten chapters.
I know this author like I know the caregiver. I shared a profound time with each for a moment. I spent enough time with the caregiver and the author to understand how much I must learn about medicine and writing.
Here is the story. Tell me what you think.
(This graphic tale about the usual short story is from here.)