Flames softening a heart of stone fading away each zealous stream. A spirit dulled through nights of black blossoms stars from a faerie dream. A soul once dampened by frigid tears warmed by a love now found. Mangled wings bound by the sun now airily flitter upon the clouds.
Drifting through the sands of time, celestial burning suffuse the night. The sweetness of the morning dew caress my heart with wondrous light. Your grace, beauty, and wisdom great have seized my heart in awe unbound, The earth, now below us, faint- how sublime it is, this love we’ve found.
Slowly, the oxygen saturation dropped. Gradually, the alarms sounded. Insisting. Imploring us to do something. We turned them off. Made him comfortable. But we knew we couldn’t hide the truth.
We were letting him suffocate.
~ ~ ~
A lucid man. A failing lung. A decision made. A breathing tube placed—just temporarily— until the lungs healed. Until they got stronger. Until he got stronger. But I saw the regret the moment it was inserted. Nevertheless. We agreed to give it a chance.
But days passed. Then weeks. No improvement. Being alert, he communicated with us well. Through his writing, I got to know him well. His adventures. His best memory. His regrets in life. He was a good man.
But a man who never desired to live like this.
While the family disputed on what course of action to take next, he remained calm and unwavering.
“Please let me go.” was what he would say.
Then finally the moment came.
The time to say goodbye.
~ ~ ~
That day, I let myself weep during rounds. In front of a crowd of stoic faces. To weep over a friend. To weep over a human being. Over his courage. An impossible decision. The loss of a life. Everything.
A few words by Shakespeare which speak more truthfully than any piece I could write at the moment…
The flaming sighs that boil within my breast Sometime break forth; and they can well declare The heart’s unrest, and how that it doth fare, The pain thereof, the grief, and all the rest. The watered eye, from whence the tears do fall, Do feel some force or else they would be dry…
Some people call this a hospital. I like to call this a place of my P’s. A hidden treasure
in a downtown peach orchard where all my P’s roam. But don’t panic. Let’s pause.
This is the place where physicians palpate, pain is palliated, and papillae are poked.
Patients are pacified, parking is pitiful, penlights are peddled, and parolees panto.
But me? I just call this home.
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Founded in 2013 by Phoebe Chi, MD, PhoebeMD: Medicine + Poetry is a health information and literary arts website that aims to inspire, empower, and inform through a curated mix of essential health information, uplifting stories, and original poetry.