Off the Shelf
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A frail man leaned against the wall,

Gasping for breath, afraid to fall.

The rest of him shivered in panic at the thought

A heart attack, perhaps or a stroke, blood clot?

“I must be going crazy,” repeated his heartbeat.

“I must try to calm down and take a seat.”


The doctors marched in with the test results and all,

They lined up against the opposite wall.

Explained to the patient the source of his pain.

“A simple panic attack, anxiety is its name.”


At the thought of the idea the man was relieved.

His diagnosis was not of the heart as he had believed.

With some simple meds, therapy and advice,

The man took a deep breath and resumed his life.


But a month passed by, and the attacks were the same,

Worsened by thoughts of fear and shame.

The beat became quicker,

As the heart became sicker,

And the only console was a glass of liquor.


Days flew by as he stayed alive,

But the meds, therapy and advice did not strengthen the drive.

What was thought to be a simple thing,

Now became two broken wings.


As the options decreased,

And the man’s will began to cease,

A psychiatrist intervened,

With a new story to screen.


Step by step, minute by minute,

The man’s life passed before him.

A new plan was made-not once, or twice,

But a solution was needed-perhaps at a greater price.


As seasons changed and the meetings became less frequent,

The reason was clear, it was the physician’s treatment.

From panic to anxiety and then to drinking,

It became very clear that his problem’s were not shrinking.

A few extra hours and words made the difference,

As he spends the rest of his life in deliverance.

Toral Patel Toral Patel (3 Posts)

Contributing Writer Emeritus

University of Alabama School of Medicine

Toral Patel is a BS and MS graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham in molecular biology. She is currently a Class of 2015 student at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham, AL.