Lydia Flores ~
a paper gown, an intravenous tube and silence greater than my symptoms
sterile sheets speak my fear & insecurity saying will you be there with me
come back after the anesthesia has broken up with me and hold me
could you love a cure that hasn’t found itself yet? will your grace go down
with me weeping and swinging because time is spilling its sand and I am
the ocean afraid to leave?
When the machine goes beep, beep--beep long note
and my body lets go of the hold on my soul
the physician notes the time of my go, will you sigh so I know
Alexandra Lackey ~
During my third year of medical school, I completed a clinical rotation in surgery. I was certain that it would be horrible. I envisioned myself in the OR, getting lightheaded, passing out onto the sterile field and being yelled at by my attending physician. I worried that the medical knowledge I'd worked so hard to learn would be neglected in favor of memorizing the steps of surgical procedures. My parents, who are both physicians, warned that I'd just be holding retractors for hours.
I want to interact with my patients, I fretted, not just hover over them while they're anesthetized.
Although I tried to keep an open mind, I knew that I was destined for a miserable time.
Amy Cowan ~
It's Monday morning, and I'm the attending physician starting a week of inpatient service in the hospital. On my patient list is a man named Earl, age ninety-one. He's outlived his siblings, his first and second wives and all of his peers. After seven decades of smoking, his lungs are failing; he carries a diagnosis that reads "severe emphysema."
The sign-out note from Earl's previous doctor reads, "Daughter and son-in-law met multiple times with the team last week." As his medical decision-makers, they've been waffling about what to do for him. Last week they said, "Do everything," then "Take a comfort approach," only to wind up back with "Let's get him strong enough for rehab."
I've been putting off rounding on Earl: I'm afraid that these two will hijack rounds by changing their minds again.