by Teri Daily
In 1991, I was a medical student working in a health clinic serving migrant workers in rural North Carolina, and the waiting room was full.
To improve my efficiency, I decided to write notes directly in the chart as I spoke with patients and their families. My current patient was two months old, which made for a short medical history.
I was asking my standard set of questions of her mother: Did you have any complications during your pregnancy? Was it a natural delivery or a C-section? How much did she weigh? Has she had any problems since birth? The answers were routine—until this last one, that is.
She was given the evil eye at eight days of age, the parents revealed. “We took her to a priest who cracked an egg over her head and cured her.”
Only after I’d written the words down did I process what her mother said. Written in the permanent medical record and couched in medical-ease: “Status-post evil eye at 8 days of age. Egg cracked over head. Cured.”
Teri Daily is an Episcopal priest at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Conway, Ark. Prior to becoming a priest, she was a pediatrician in private practice. Her husband, Dave, teaches religion at the University of the Ozarks. They have two children, ages 18 and 16.
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