Pam Correll retired two years ago after 42 years as a social worker; 27 of those as a psychotherapist. She has been writing all her life. Since her retirement, she has found herself writing about her career. Pam is married with one adult son.
Dr. Morris Klozer had to tell another patient that he was dying. It was his third of the afternoon.
About a year earlier, an orderly had started calling him “The Closer,” and it made sense, so it caught on. Morris was like the pitcher you bring in bottom of the final inning to throw nine strikes and seal the win. Unerring. Intimidating. Fast.
The staff didn’t know at first how Morris would take to the name, but then someone found out that he liked it. Now everyone openly called him “The Closer.” They delighted in shouting, “Hey, Closer! Go get’em!” as he walked the seventh floor like a slinger looking for the dugout door so that he could trot onto the field under bright lights to save the big game. But if Morris was on the seventh floor, he was visiting a terminal patient who did not know, until The Closer did the consult, that he was in fact a terminal patient.
Health care givers in stressful settings must do things like that to stay sane. They reveled in the irony that Morris’s last name actually was pronounced “Closer” even though it was spelled differently, and that nobody—patients and their families—knew the difference,