Dr. Michael P. H. Stanley describes an encounter with a terminally ill patient who, in his pain and confusion, demands to leave the hospital ward in the middle of the night. While the patient’s pleas are initially regarded as “nonsense” or evidence of his delirium, Dr. Stanley recognizes the patient’s writings as lines from Shakespeare’s play Macbeth. As Dr. Stanley highlights, his experience speaks to the lasting power of texts and stories to leave an indelible imprint on our minds, offering up a means of communication when all other words fail.

– Michael P. H. Stanley (Doctor)