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A model or philosophy of primary care that is patient-centered, comprehensive, team-based, coordinated, accessible and focused on quality and safety. –Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative
It’s a philosophy
not a place.
I get it.
Certainly we never used that term
to describe what we offered
there in the broken heart of the city
I imagined something Victorian.
Perhaps I imagined a lecture hall filled with side-whiskered,
Sherlockian doctors, arguing case histories
like gentlemen playing chess with death–
or perhaps I imagined priests,
performing absolution at the bier.
underground conference room.
I was unsurprised at the bitter
coffee, the keening of the projector, the recalcitrant
bangs from the water pipes–
You are a big man, a little heavy, but nothing
that can’t be fixed by daily, brisk walks
or swept away by a
dose of cancer and a blast of treatment.
You have been called from your glass enclosure
to help me.
A productive, bronchial cough
is still with me–too long.
Chinese practitioners call this a lurking pathogen
tossing antibiotics into my weary kidneys
Priscilla Mainardi ~
Your skin pale with worry,
your mouth a straight line,
the fear in your eyes–
all this told me,
more than the nausea,
more than the fact that I couldn’t move my head,
that something was really wrong.
You thought I wouldn’t see.
I looked up at the ceiling,
at its pattern of dots,
white, and brighter white,
Jeanne LeVasseur ~
Even now, some eat strawberries in the sunshine,
some pace the deck in a strong salt breeze,
while for others, the music is winding down.
Always unfair–a few of us in lifeboats,
some sinking in the icy water,
others on a slanting deck about to go under.
We make salami sandwiches on rye,
smoke a cigarette after passionate love,
and wave goodbye to
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.
Judy Schaefer ~
How can I write a poem, nurse, in this pelted room? Nurse? Nurse!
Memory loss, southern pine–nurse, this is not a poem-writing-room
The floors ooze resin at your footsteps
Spanish moss, from every wall
Spongy trod of medical students
Surgery went well, anesthesia lifted
Cologne of betadine, a boarish root for a vein
at the same time each morning. I welcome
the lady of
Since a doctor gave me poison pills that left
my heart a swollen slug, killed off my bone marrow,
set my lungs to clamoring, I can get brain-freeze
without eating a snow cone. When I walk
my neighborhood’s knotted streets, lost drivers
stop to ask directions. After thirty years, I know
the pretzel-turns, but when they motor off, I wonder,
Did I say
Monday, 7:30 am, DR two. I’m circulating,
the nurse who isn’t sterile, the surgical team’s link
with the unclean world. Before the incision,
I have ten things to do. I keep the list in my head:
check suction, position lights, turn on Bovie, toe
the steel bucket next to the surgeon’s feet.
The scrub nurse and I do the count: sponges, needles, clamps.
Let me not be blinded by the glare of the spotlight
or distracted by the tangle of plastic tubes,
the stink of anesthesia waiting in its multi-chambered
monolith of sleep. Let me stand beside the patient
and look into his eyes. Let me say, we will take care of you.
Let me understand what it is to be overcome by fear.
Let me secure my mask and
I was not with my mother when she died, her heart bursting
against her ribs, screaming for a violent release from her chest
I listened, ear to phone: nothing-more-could-be-done
I recall her now, prayer petals of morning’s first red rose, the perfect
Mezzo-soprano of a summer evening’s lullaby, an open window to song