I expect the attending to leave the room after ripping off her gloves and gown. Instead she grabs a clean towel and gently wipes the patient’s forehead with the soft tenderness of a mother. I decide that this is the kind of doctor I want to be.
I quickly realized, they allow the inner recesses of my soul to connect with my imagination, together spewing forth a wonderful concoction of syllables, metaphors and outright madness on dozens of sticky notes
Notes must be written, and labs must be ordered. / Everyone has their role to do, or else chaos is restored. / All this every day in one golden hour.
Touch, pinch. Move, shift. Tap, reflex.
The moon has risen and our shift has begun. / We night owls hold vigil in the resident room.
Twenty-four hours a day. / Spent all in one place. / The beds, the lights, the rooms all the same. / The hospital is today’s domain.
The boy coming to the office was eight. / Came in with tremendous hate. / An exceptionally troubled household.
Because I could not stop for death, / He kindly asked I pause. / My arms were full of sterile wraps, / Scissors, tape, and gauze.
Many patient encounters, often brief, have left me with a lasting impression. I reflect on these moments by capturing the dialogue, gestures or quiet observations that occur when caring for patients.
One step and then another; / the end is near! The end is nearly here! / And yet, it is not. Not yet near. / So, I carry on, though I am weary, / though my telomeres shorten or because my telomeres shorten,
Do you hear what I hear? / The humming of machines, / which can’t breathe, / but enable artificial ventilation for living beings.
What does it mean to “grieve appropriately?” / To silently cry / as to not break the fragility in the air.