Stories for My Daughter


Lindsay Mazotti, MD1,2

Accompanying artwork: Susan MacLeod

Perm J 2018;22:15-093 [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.

Tell me about your patients, she asks
Before a song, before a kiss, before goodnight
As a toddler there were fairy-tale endings
A man came in today and his heart wasn’t squeezing very well
We made it better
No one ever died

Now there are no more fairy tales
The man who drinks too much and destroys his liver
The woman who smokes with lung cancer
Consequences. Realities.

But I want to share more than a diagnosis with her
I want her to hear the stories and see the patients as I do
To glimpse the colors and textures of my daily doctoring fabric

Tell me about your patients, she asks
A grandmother with pneumonia warmly surrounded by pictures of her
88 grandchildren
A 90-year-old widow, with freshly manicured red nails, anxiously clutching
the latex glove balloon her grandson created
A 50-year-old man embarking on a month of inpatient chemotherapy
with bravery and a sweet smile through his tears

I share with her the imagery of the humanness and fragility
that breaks my heart a little every day
Sharing gratitude for my patients
in the stories for my daughter


How to Cite this Article

Mazotti L. Stories for my daughter. Perm J 2019;23:15-093. DOI: 

Author Affiliation

1 Department of Hospital Medicine, Kaiser Permanente East Bay, Oakland, CA

2 Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine, Pasadena, CA

Corresponding Author

Lindsay Mazotti, MD (

Artist Information

Susan MacLeod has been a Freelance Cartoonist, Writer, and Graphic Facilitator in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada for the past 7 years. She is currently working on a humorous graphic novel about navigating her mother through 9 years of long-term care. 

The poem “Stories for My Daughter” was originally published in leaflet, 2018;5(2). Available from:


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