Category: Medicine

To Let Go.

Despair.
Asphyxiated by the device
meant to grant you life
you pleaded to be released.
Lines running
through your veins
fighting to give you strength-
they only imprisoned you…

Healer.

Poured out upon humanity…

A Caregiver’s Heart.

The simple joy of caring…

The Waning (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)

You already knew.
Gaze unflinching,
you told us to say the words.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

A. L. S.

Despite sparse questions,
your eyes revealed
an understanding far deeper
than our answers-
that with one moment,
robbed were you
of the years ahead,
of memories awaiting,
of stories belonging to you.
Now lost…

A Physician’s Plea.

A hope for the future…

A Search Within.

The search for strength…

A Memory of Ground Beef.

Once when I was on a specialized heart failure service, I took care of a teenage boy. He had a form of idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy and had a big heart…in, obviously, more ways than one.

He loved baseball, pumpkin pie, and horses. His family owned a farm, so before he got sick, he would often go horseback riding. He also loved to draw.

We, a team of five physicians, took care of him for a month while he was waiting for a heart transplant. He liked us. We liked him. So he drew us as well.

I thought he was clever. He thought I was even more so. All because he liked my joke:

“What do you call a cow with no legs?”

“Ground beef.”

That was it. He was just a great kid, trying his best to live the life given to him.

I found out recently that he passed away. And today I found the drawing he gave me. And I wept.

It used to be, that at the end of our visits, we would both say to each other, “Ground beef!” with a wink. It perplexed everyone else, but we knew exactly what we were talking about.

So here’s to you, dear buddy…

Ground beef.

A Blessed Christmas Tragedy.

A bustling hospital.
An unexpected arrival.
A frigid Christmas eve.

I was saying goodbye to another patient when fate collided us.

“I’m sorry, father. You can no longer live with us.
But here is a nice doctor who will find you a home.
Merry Christmas, dad…”

A Lunch with a Gift.

“…You are a doctor to many,
but an angel you have been to me
who encouraged, cared, and healed my pain,
and a light you made me see.

I am sad that you are no longer my doc
but am glad that you are my friend.
And I hope we can keep in touch
until the very end…”

A Bitter Thanksgiving.

Allow me to spin upon the spindle
a tale of an encounter true.
A patient once, a homeless mum,
her words now shared with you:

The hour of autumn arrives anew
when mirth and feasts abound.
But let me confess my days to you,
true gifts which have been found…

The Hug.

Bitterness.
Each word, a slap.
Each consonant, piercing.
Bursting in like a winter’s storm,
you permeated into our lives.

We wanted to help you,
but we only came to fear you.
Many shook their heads in pity.
Some avoided you.
Others talked about you.

Contempt.
Each gesture, scornful.
Each insult, stinging.
My attempts to talk to you
only seemed to anger you more.

You terrified me. Yet I yearned.
To see. To know. To understand.

I knew you were frustrated.
Your disease, unforgiving.
Slowly devouring.
I knew you were discouraged.
Your body, powerless.
Slowly succumbing.

But why wouldn’t you let us care for you?…

What the Stethoscope Hears.

What do I hear when I bring you to my ears?
What story does your body unveil?

I hear your heart,
the clap of each valve,
sloshes of vigor from lumen
to chamber to reveal
resilience and strength.

I hear your lungs,
the whisper of bronchi,
each crackle, each wheeze
unearthed with your breaths
to expose a hundred secrets.

I hear your bowels,
the timbre of their song,
divulging their activity
to massage a burden
through labyrinthine depths…