D. Micah Milgraum
It's a typical chaotic day on the hospital's hematology and oncology floor. I'm sitting in a side room with one of my fellow medical students, doing paperwork and making follow-up calls for our medical team.
That's when the music starts. The sounds of two guitars, a tambourine and a few maracas drift down the hallway. I can't make out how many people are singing, but the happy voices and the song's upbeat tempo make me curious: I never thought I'd hear this type of music on the "cancer floor."
As I look up in surprise, Kevin, our team's intern, appears in the doorway.
He catches my eye, and after a moment, we both start bobbing our heads to the beat. He makes swaying motions, as if he wants to dance.
after my father had his stroke
we never spoke again
but that didn't stop us
from reading each other's faces
recognizing the punctuated pauses
periods and question marks
etched in eyes, sighs, and sad smiles
It took both hands to hold one of his
that first day in the hospital
as my eyes whispered how much I cared
and his smile replied, Thank you
Years ago, as I left my college dorm room, the posters caught my eye. Plastered everywhere, they announced a bone-marrow drive led by a fellow student in search of a match for his brother, diagnosed with cancer.
A confirmed needlephobe, I'd recently fled a Red Cross blood drive at the mere thought of the tourniquet. Registering as a bone-marrow donor seemed like a terrible idea--but the sibling connection grabbed me and wouldn't let go. The eldest of four, I pictured my sisters and brother at home, two states away. If any of them had developed this terrible illness, I knew that I, too, would implore my classmates to be tested. So, with several friends, I made the trek across campus to register and have my blood drawn.
I hope someone here is a match, I thought, looking around at the crowd.