Amy Crawford-Faucher ~
There's one thing about being a family doctor: After a while, almost every patient you see is a familiar face. This can be a blessing or a curse, but mostly it's a blessing.
This morning I'm in my office, reviewing today's patients with Julia, the medical student rotating in our office.
I'm especially looking forward to my 10:30 appointment. It's the first checkup for a newborn girl named Ella. I've known her parents, Emily and Dave, since before they had their first daughter, Katie, now three. I think of them as one of "my" families.
Emily and Dave, in their late twenties, have been together since college. Emily works full-time in a management position. Everything about her is calm and unflappable. Her dark blue eyes, neat dark-brown hair and pleasant expression radiate quiet competence. She easily weathers the garden-variety worries and crises of career and child-rearing.
Joe Andrie ~
It's another day for me as an intern on the labor-and-delivery floor of my large urban hospital--another day scrambling to help pregnant women deliver and trying to keep pace with the unpredictable timetable of the birthing process.
My hospital phone rings. I'm really starting to dread that sound.
It's the triage nurse. We're admitting a patient: Mrs. Harris, age thirty-four, who's had several prior deliveries and therefore carries the label "multiparous," or just "multip."
Flipping through her records, I see "G5P4" noted. "G" means the number of pregnancies; "P" indicates how many children she has.
A mother of four who's at term and having contractions...I've seen such women give birth within a matter of minutes. In plain language, Mrs. Harris's chart means "HURRY!"
Jan Jahner ~
They came up from the center of the earth, The People
where sky speaks to corn,
speaks to cottonwoods, to runoff in the wash.
Living beneath black-slashed canyon walls
home to sheep and weavers.
He is one of them, my patient
one of the ancients; leathery face carved and quiet
she is his daughter, fingers on the covers,
ready should he wake.
He is dying and we can't say it.
Soft sounds unknown to me, their language of wind, cottonwood and wool
in the center of this circle is knowing and not saying
the medicines continue
but we turn, bathe, suction and weave the fibers close.