December 21, 2009
To Whom It May Concern:
When I was 16, I noticed a flutter centralized under the right side of my skull. The occurrences were rare, so I ignored the problem. But as the years progressed, the flutters began to throb and the throbs began to ache. I only sought medical attention after the migraines and frequency intensified, and over-the-counter medication stopped working.
Countless tests were conducted. But results came back inconclusive or, worse yet, ideal for a healthy young woman in her twenties like me. My suffering, professionals led me to believe, was psychosomatic – my imagination.
Prescription drugs offered some relief for a few years, but by the time I was thirty, even they became ineffective. What was once a flutter now felt, at worst, like a jagged rock bludgeoning by skull.
I contemplated suicide but never acted; instead, I chose to travel my path alone. I withdrew from society and moved to the wild, where I could scream and nobody would hear…
Tonight is my reprieve. Before dawn, I will surrender.
Only you can save me, whoever “you” are.
After reading her letter, I looked deep into Patient 28’s eyes and looked for the woman trapped inside. No one was starring back at me.
The contrast between the colorful woman in the photo and the muted remains wheeled into Sabbath Day were stark. I believed at the time that the woman in the letter and photo was gone, that there was no one left to save.
I was wrong.