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A Blue-Lit Room

In a hospital room lit blue
By the rays entering in from the clouded sun

A patient sitting up in her bed
With a home-knitted hat to keep her warm
And blankets on top of her legs

Speaking between breaths in her O2 mask
She directed her attention to the doctor

Her ginger-haired husband
Looking at her with listening eyes
Occasionally glancing at the doctor

Her son with his back to me
Speaking matter-of-factly
Without the nuance of emotion

Her daughter sitting next to her brother
Quiet and keen for the next words by the doctor

With the fray and furrow of the hectic day
My preceptor had neglected to mention this patient to me

I was in the room
Meeting the family for the first time
With no information on what was going on

But it was easy to piece together what was transpiring

The family was preparing for home care
After weeks of being in the hospital
The patient was nearing the end
Her breaths stolen by the crab that was eating at her pancreas
And made its way to her lungs

I couldn’t divert my attention
Away from the patient and her husband
Tears started to well in his eyes
As they spoke of comfort measures

She was outwardly calm
Whatever internal struggles she carried
She concealed them well

I was a stranger

Observing the intimate family dynamics
Of a life-altering, emotional transition of care
In a hospital room lit blue

Image credit: Eye Spy (CC BY 2.0) by RubyGoes

Poetry Thursdays is an initiative that highlights poems by medical students. If you are interested in contributing or would like to learn more, please contact our editors.

Alina Cheema Alina Cheema (1 Posts)

Contributing Writer

University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine

Alina is a fourth-year medical student at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine in Biddeford, Maine, class of 2021. In 2015, she graduated from Brandeis University with a Bachelor of Science in biology and health: science, society and policy (HSSP). She enjoys painting, baking, hiking and spending time with friends and family in her free time. After graduating from medical school, Alina would like to pursue a career in Internal Medicine.