Tag: writing

caregiver heart poem

A Caregiver’s Heart.

I cared for you even before we met.

As letters meandering the page
sketched the contours of a portrait,
I looked forward to meeting you.

As I enter the room,
I sense a fragrance of time past,
of struggles endured years before–
silent whispers of a mind’s unrest
reflected through misted eyes.

As we talk,
of a soul’s facade you steadily disrobe.
Words of suffering and pain, joy and pride-
each syllable a silvered twine
weaving your life’s story.

I examine you.
Your heart-
that fulcrum deeply hinged.
A bittersweet thrum
of a battery strong but worn.
Your lungs-
that which sing
their own melodious song,
a lulling carol
invigorated with each exhale.

From there a journey it becomes
to strengthen you, to make you whole.
A disease conquered, a valley bridged.
A hollow filled, a life restored.

We work together.
As ripples in a wake,
your life affects mine,
for the same heart that aches
when you suffer
rejoices with you
in your victories.

Because this is what I treasure–
the chance to care for you,
to walk with you.

It is a privilege.

So thank you for letting me.

Continue reading “A Caregiver’s Heart.”

what doctor wants you to know

5 Things Doctors Wish You Knew (that will empower you)

By Phoebe Chi, MD


Have you ever left a doctor’s office somewhat disappointed with your visit? Maybe you just spoke to a physician, but instead of having all your concerns addressed, you find yourself with even more questions? Do you ever wonder what doctors secretly wished patients would do that would make caring for you a smoother process?

My purpose in writing this post is to do two things: to provide practical tips that you can use today that will 1) help prepare you for encounters you might have with the health care system in the future…whether it’s a routine doctor’s visit or an unexpected trip to the ER, and 2) help you make the most out of your interactions with your physicians.

Therefore, without further ado…

Continue reading “5 Things Doctors Wish You Knew (that will empower you)”

als waning poem phoebe chi

The Waning (ALS)

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.

Strength dissolving,
your conviction remains
unscathed.

You savor
each passing sunrise.

Each caress, each step.
For you know.
As your legs cease to support,
arms stop to comply,
you still feel
your child’s touch.

Absorbing her love.
Pretending
you don’t care the roles
have been reversed

as you yearn
to return her embrace.

As its hunger ascends,
You treasure
the remaining days.

Every word, every smile.
For you know.
Soon it
consumes your voice,

drains your visage,
until all that is left is
the silence
of a vacant mask.

Unable to reflect
your thought’s grin,

your heart’s laugh,
your soul tears
as you blink away the moisture.

As your breaths
increasingly betray you,

you are not defeated,
for the flames
of your bruised spirit
are not quenched,

and you give thanks
for the time you had,

even as your body dims
and you fade away.

Continue reading “The Waning (ALS)”

Embraced

His heart unveiled before me,
descended from fields above,
let him free me with eternal songs
and constrain me with his love.

Lilacs amidst the autumn green,
like lilies among the thorns,
let him hold me up in blossom tides
in whose haven I am reborn.

If come the dawn which want of rain,
the hours of trial and drouth,
let him kiss me now as he kissed me then–
nectared kisses of his mouth.

When moistened rivulets meander down
my cheeks onto my neck,
let him dry the tears and calm my soul
with words of sweet caress.

As cashmere skies dissolve in mist
to lower eve’s curtain from above,
let them come; I fear it not–
for I am sick with love.


Continue reading “Embraced”

A Search Within.

How do I know
the pill won’t seem
bitter to your tongue
through your teeth?

How do I wear
a once white coat
stained with tears
of memories?

How do I compel
my pen to write
scripts to fight
a dimming light?

How do I know
 which waters will flow
to unearth the strength
within me?

How do I persuade
a heart to let go
when it’s my hand
that sets you free?

How do I ensure
my smile won’t be
one of the last
that you’ll see?

How do I force
my ears to hear
a song I fear
of dusk so near?

How do I know
which waters will come
to enshroud the doubts
within me?


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 (a weak, enlarged heart), and he had a huge heart…in 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. But 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.

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

It was just a silly joke. But for the two of us, it somehow meant something more. 

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

So here’s to you, dear buddy…

Ground beef 😉

Confessions

I am flawed. Those who have read some of my earlier scribbles have seen the somewhat self-critical lens through which I view myself. Despite this, a new year is just upon us, which, like every new day, offers a chance for us to adjust whatever it is we feel we need to adjust…whether it is our daily habits or our perspective on life.

Therefore, Puppydoc would like to share with you a few things about herself by presenting her three big goals for the New Year:

♥ To LIVE more.

Prioritizing her professional and academic endeavors over the past decade has somewhat come at a price for Puppydoc, who feels that she has missed out on life in general as well as many of the people in it. Therefore, she would like to do things differently this year by more fully treasuring what she already has…her dear family and friends…and by putting them first.

To LAUGH more.

Medicine, while it has given her many precious memories, has formed in her a sort of a somber outlook on life, where all she sees is suffering around her. Coupled with an impression that she is rather powerless to really make a difference, she ends up bearing a lingering guilt for not being able to do more for others. For this, Puppydoc will take a dose of what has traditionally been considered the best medicine–laughter–and just try to loosen up a bit.

 To LOVE more.

For most of her life, Puppydoc has guarded her heart closely, almost afraid to feel…experience…embrace that nebulous realm called love. Fearing vulnerability, she has attached herself to the position of caregiver in both her professional and personal life, always caring for others while within remained a daydreaming girl aching to be cared for. But now is the time for her to start taking down the walls surrounding her. And who knows what may happen…

• 

Thank you, dear Liz, for prompting me to think about my goals and to write this post. You are an inspiration to all!

Wishing everyone a lovely week and a wonderful start to the New Year.

Love,
Puppydoc