What are you looking for?

Tag: pediatrics

ADHD

Patricia Ljutic

A flywheel 
launched from a brain
that cannot remember 
three consecutive words–
two words, maybe:

“Stop kicking…”

The third word catapults with
the what and the where,
changing channels
with every new activity,
leaving my son aimless,
scattering stones, 
snapping twigs,
belching at turned heads, 
spinning.

“S-T-O-P!”

What does stop mean with his 
thoughts ajar?
ADHD: attention 
without a footpath, 
a train

Read More »

The Ancients Had It Right

Stanley H. Schuman

In Aramaic scripture*, and Aboriginal Dreamtime.
How else could animal life begin
Except by Divine Breath, oxygen-enriched?
How ingenious! Only two atoms: O2,
Ideal for hemoglobin, mitochondria, 
Neurotransmitters, ideal for fight or flight, for vocalizing, 
For clever humans to shape tools, split atoms, 
Compose opera, sow seeds, harvest grain.

Consider my distress, in my just-opened pediatric office. 
Stumped by Angela, a three-year-old
So panicked by my white coat, no way to examine

Read More »

Angels and Phantoms

Joanna Dognin

“Mama,” a little voice pipes from the back seat. “Why is that boy in a chair?”

The sun is beaming into the car as we sit at a stoplight, waiting to exit a store parking lot. My two-year-old daughter has spotted a young man, barely twenty, who smiles weakly as he rolls by in an electric wheelchair, collecting money for muscular dystrophy.

“He’s in a chair because he needs help moving around,” I

Read More »

The Cruelest Month

Ray Bingham

One day in April, I took the assignment none of the other nurses wanted: Baby Michael. A hopeless case. 

Born almost four months premature, weighing barely a pound, he was now all of six days old. His entire body wasn’t much longer than my open hand. As he lay motionless on a warming bed with the ventilator breathing for him, the night nurse gave me report: serious intestinal infection, bowel surgery, septic shock,

Read More »

In the Pediatric Ward

In this forest of tubes and bottles,
Children wander in sleep.
A dying bird drops
From the corner of my eye.
The night nurse floats through paths
Tending the rooted tubes,
Weighing the pause between breaths.
In the dark, a man’s voice
Stuns like a hunter’s gun.
We wait for dawn.

Last night we cried–four worn children
Facing their walls, and I,
Handing

Read More »

Cleft

As Caroline was born

the doctor saw
the split
from lip to nose–
purple rimmed,
going down deep–
Deep enough
to hurt
generations.

And the imperfect doctor,
tired of wounds
tired of divisions,
saw the small
wholeness
Chose that moment
Chose tenderness
saying simply,
She is beautiful.

And the imperfect mother,
tired of pain,
held her

Read More »

The Emaciated Infant

Paula Lyons

The police had been called to the house by a neighbor who said she heard children crying and hadn’t seen the mother in two days. It was the middle of a night in July, and the children’s wails would have traveled through the project windows left open to catch cooling breezes.

Paramedics provided transport to the hospital, but the normally cynical and well-defended police were so outraged that they also came to

Read More »

Johnny Doe

Policemen pose like plastic toy soldiers,

point rifle barrels in every direction,
ghetto bird’s spotlight glints off helmets.
Ambulance allowed across yellow tape,
diesel engine grinds up the sharp grade.
In no moon you glow fish white belly up,
streetlamp casts mottled shadows,
your blood a preschool finger painting
smeared on sidewalk.
I am ordered to shear off your slick, soaked
jeans, to smash your chest,

Read More »

Apologies

Alex Okun

You were right.
That IV was no good.
Looking at his arm all swollen like that,
I thought, “That says it all.”

I’m sorry we kept bothering you.
“Please don’t wake him for vitals,”
You told us.

Sometimes we don’t see the signs.

I was hoping she would stay home longer,
That you would have had more time together.
She liked starting school every September.
She loved that backpack.

I’m sorry it always

Read More »

First Night Call

Abby Caplin

During my first night on call as an intern, I felt scared. Not just scared–terrified. I was serving on the medical center’s pediatric oncology floor, and medical school hadn’t prepared me for children with cancer. What did I know about cutting-edge chemotherapy regimens? What if a child suddenly developed an overwhelming infection or a seizure triggered by a tumor? Someone would expect me to know what to do.

“It’s okay,” said Brad, the

Read More »

Ripped From the Headlights

Maureen Picard Robins

“Get a notebook,” he said. 

Dr. Altman and I stood face to face on the pediatric surgical floor of Columbia-Presbyterian Babies & Children’s Hospital. It was the first week in December. A metal crib–it seemed more like a cage or prison–separated us. In this center space lay my yellow heart: my eight-week-old daughter, wounded by surgery, dulled by morphine, our whispers flying over her.

It had been nearly twenty-four hours since Dr.

Read More »

Losing Tyrek

John Harrington

Tyrek’s mother and I must have spoken for two hours in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, covering every topic but the one that was glaring at us: death. A fourteen-month-old child is not supposed to die–and even though I knew the situation was dire, I couldn’t bring myself to face it. So I excused myself, sat down with her son’s chart and stared blankly at it. 

I first met Tyrek and his parents

Read More »
Scroll to Top