Leg Warmers

Nebraska Farm Scenes


Nina Greenblatt, MD

Accompanying artwork: Brain Storms by Tandy Kunkle

Perm J 2018;22:14-064 [Full Citation]

E-pub: 07/20/2018

This is a story and illustration from the upcoming book 100 Little Stories of Big Moments published by The Permanente Press.

Most of the stories and poems were written by clinicians in 15 minutes in writing workshops about meaningful moments in their work and life of practicing medicine. Professional artists were asked to create a visual representation of the story.

Nebraska Farm ScenesShe was sitting on the exam table. Long and lean, a dancer’s body. Bright green leg warmers (it was St Patrick’s Day). Her eyes big, sad, and puffy from all the crying. Her friends were there but in the background. They seemed less alive in their silent gravity.

She was crying on and off, hiding her face but then looking right at me. Wanted to “not need the drugs,” to do it on her own. We talked about what had been going on. Depression, panic nonstop. About bad weather in her brain, her strength and courage for coming in. We all laughed at needing warm clothes and an umbrella until the shitty “brain storm” passed.

It could have been me in her place. It has been. So ashamed to be crying/anxious/needy/imperfect. But I cannot find the path out for her. I can only offer recognition and admiration for the strength it takes just to keep going.

I talked a lot, too much probably, but our eyes met. Mine said, I know you, I’m sorry you have to suffer through this, I see you’re in pain. Her eyes said, Thank you.
If only I could be as gentle to myself when my own brain “storms” full of self-doubt and that enormous bubbling over of grief. Not to fix or cure but just to see. She was so sad and yet she looked so alive with her big red eyes and her bright green leg warmers.

How to Cite this Article

Greenblatt N. Leg warmers. Perm J 2018;22:14-064. DOI: https://doi.org/10.7812/TPP/14-064

The story “Leg Warmers” was originally published in leaflet, 2017;5(1). Available from: http://leaflet.thepermanentepress.org/2012-09-07-07-54-29/volume-5-issue-1/item/leg-warmers

The Permanente Journal

Sponsored by the eight Permanente Medical Groups, The Permanente Journal advances knowledge in scientific research, clinical medicine, and innovative health care delivery.

Reprint Permissions

The Permanente Journal welcomes requests for reprints and reproduction. Use of any and all material published in The Permanente Journal is copyrighted and protected.

The Permanente Press

The Permanente Press publishes The Permanente Journal and books related to healthcare. Journal subscriptions are entered for the calendar year. Advance payment in US dollars is required.

ISSN 1552-5775 Copyright © 2018 thepermanentejournal.org.

The Permanente Press. All Rights Reserved.