The Elderly Couple

The Elderly Couple


William Lynes, MD1

Accompanying artwork: Damien Webb

Perm J 2018;22:15-088 [Full Citation]
E-pub: 04/19/2019

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.

The Smiths were here again, dressed so nicely and polite as always—Tom’s hat and Maggie’s dress just so. Tom helped her with her walker, and yet obviously his walker was present as well. Maggie didn’t remember my name—she always knew me before—her dementia, just worse. Tom’s PSA had doubled since his last visit. He looked so gaunt; his weight dropped another 10 pounds. He wouldn’t take the pain medicine—could not help Maggie if he did. We talked as usual; they, as always, asked about my family, about my problems. Leaving with an appointment in a month, his disease was unremitting. I knew that he wouldn’t be back again.

The Elderly Couple

How to Cite this Article

Lynes W. The elderly couple. Perm J 2019;23:15-088. DOI:

Author Affiliation

1 Retired, Department of Urology, Riverside Medical Center, CA

Corresponding Author

William Lynes, MD (

Artist Information

Damien Webb is an Illustrator and Graphic Artist based in Milwaukie, OR. He works in mixed media.

The story “The Elderly Couple” was originally published in leaflet, 2018;5(2). Available from:

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