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Mindful : October 2013
better. As I answered the phone and lit up another cigarette, I thought, “This is good. The faster I smoke this pack, the sooner I’ll be done with this whole disgusting business.” It was my doctor’s receptionist asking how soon I could come in to discuss my test results. I told her I was busy and it would be awhile, unless it was important. She hesitated. “The doctor really needs to see you.” “It’s not cancer, or anything like that, is it?” I asked. She merrily assured me it wasn’t, but repeated that I had to come in right away. I made a n appoint- ment for the next day, then called my mother. Some- times you know, even when you don’t know. The doctor showed me a line drawing of a woman with an “x” drawn over her pelvic area. She said that’s where the cancer is (hold on, did she say, “can- cer”?). Come again? She seemed a little irritated that she was going to have to explain it all twice. “The ‘x’ is what we’re removing.” Huh? Someone was going to be removing something...from inside me? I burst out laughing. This couldn’t be happening to me. I eat healthy food. I wish people well. I regularly walk by the gym. What the hell? On the appointed day, I was wheeled into surgery and found myself surrounded by a crowd of blue- masked faces hovering busily overhead. Suddenly it occurred to me: who knew who these people were? They were masked. Had I actually seen their cre- dentials? They could be terrorists for all I knew. My mind went into overdrive as I lay there feeling small and helpless. Then I broke the “fourth wall” and spoke to my doctor, who was performing my surgery. “Don’t forget,” I said cheerily, “you’re going to save my uterus for me so I can make a backpack out of it.” I had joked about that at my last appoint- ment. “ Probably more like a change purse,” she tossed back. I could hear the smile in her voice. I spent the next few moments joking with the surgeon, inquiring if the anesthesiologist knew my friend so-and-so (he did), and bantering with whoever would talk to me. It’s not that I wasn’t sca red. I was scared. But kidding a round made me This couldn’t be happening to me. I eat healthy food. I wish people well. I regularly walk by the gym.