A Physician’s Plea.

A message rekindled for the caregivers of today…


A medical student. A simple question.

“How am I supposed to go on caring?”

At the time, suggestions abound.
Work-life balance. Self-care. Hobbies.
Remembering our initial calling.
Remembering we still make a difference.
Remembering our love for medicine
and the privilege we have as caregivers.

But then the realization-
I don’t know the answer.

I only know that I have witnessed around me-
at every stage of training and practice-
evidence of emotional exhaustion.
Dissatisfaction.
Disillusionment.

Burnout.

So this is my plea…

Continue reading “A Physician’s Plea.”

Hillman’s Demons: A Poem on Depression

By Chris Reed, Featured Contributor


James Hillman told me
the demons will come
at night in old age,
and will settle
on my bed,
on my chest,
in my hair,
in my head,
in my guts,
and prod me awake.

Befriend them he says.
They are your demons.
They are here to help.
And know you are 
enough worn with years
to be not afraid.

Drink tea.
Pay heed.
Converse.

If you look them in the eye,
know you’ll soon be gone,
so don’t care what they think,
they will give you quarter
and disarm.

Then you can hold them close,
like children,
with sharp claws and teeth,
and comfort them.
For their torments are yours;
their shadows are your shadows.

Hand in hand in the night,
no one is afraid of the dark.

Continue reading “Hillman’s Demons: A Poem on Depression”

A Walk With Time

 

Laughter.
Galloping between warming rays
it echoes through the still
of a quiet afternoon.
Child unburdened, mind untamed,
curiosity insatiable that feeds
her wandering thoughts.

Spring arrives,
ripened with verdant green,

like blossoms unfurling with the breeze
she spreads her timid wings.
Each hour reveals, each day a new age,
boundless fields before her,
pirouettes on a promised stage.

Then you hasten,
remain ahead of her strides.

She pleas for you to turn for her
as she chases each moment elusive.
Years rush like seconds,
seasons shrink to days,

what once sprightly pranced upon tender leaves
now slow to a staggering gait.

Standing alone under winter sun
where golden days fade to rust,
she reminisces of ages past
and of lives come and gone.
Through aches of tears nostalgic
she sees you turn for her.
You take her hand, “It’s alright” you say,
“for a new season now has come.”

Then you guide her tenderly
one final time down the road.
Out of the frost, away from the cold,
and into the mists
of tomorrow.

Lines penned two decades ago never felt more true.
May we treasure every day.

 

A Bitter Thanksgiving.

Many of you may recall having read these lines from past Thanksgivings; it is a retelling of a visit I had with one of my patients during this time of year—a woman whose life and struggles were unlike mine in many ways, but who nevertheless taught me many things about courage and integrity.

I hope you enjoy these words, and have a blessed Thanksgiving week.

•      •      •

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 steady cadence of my heart,
voice to praise when souls fall dark,
vision to behold each fresh day’s start-
For this, I am thankful.

The assured exhale of every breath,
joys gone by, its memories kept,
cloth to shield from winter’s death-
For this, I am thankful

Days when I can veil my cries,
days I look you in the eyes,

to know on night lies brighter skies-
For this, I am thankful.

So for this…I am thankful.

Storm.

 

A yearning
as sirens of
autumn’s breath
whisper words
of anticipation.
A rhythmic contralto
an echo to the soul
a welcomed unrest
as the valley chants 
its familiar tune.

Mesmerized
is she as gleams
of heaven incensed
unveil a sight divine.
A prelude
as skies yield to
nature’s command–
a foretaste of the
promised cleansing
of her deliverance.

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