I'm taking a blogging break for several days and leave you with some poems written by doctors and nurses here that were presented at one of our Schwartz Center Rounds several weeks ago. They appear with the permission of the authors, and I will present others in the future. (Apologies to the poets if I made formatting errors.)
With all the talk on this blog and elsewhere about the business aspects of running a hospital, these poems and poets provide a fine reminder of the intensely personal aspects of health care. I hope you appreciate them and the sentiments presented.
ENCOUNTER ON THE STAIRS By Warner V. Slack, MD
Next to Children’s Hospital, in a hurry Down the stairs, two at a time Slowed down by a family, moving slowly Blocking the stairway, I’m in a hurry I stop, annoyed, I’m in a hurry Seeing me, they move to the side A woman says softly, “sorry” in Spanish I look down in passing, there’s a little boy Unsteady in gait, holding onto an arm Head shaved, stitches in scalp Patch over eye, thin and pale He catches my eye and gives me a smile My walk is slower for the rest of the day
Silent Burial By Janet Greene, RN
Loving in secret takes its toll. Afraid to discover my twisted soul which loves things without beauty, I close the door hoping to find shelter. Feeling the chill from the wind of people’s voices, I wrap my sweater to me, And tuck my hands carefully in the cuffs. Quietly I cherish someone others loathed to touch. Her mind grew like a crooked branch, And her laugh had a silly shrill. Restless eyes betrayed her childish spirit That earned no wisdom over time. Distance keeps my secret even in death. May the earth Gently bury my untidy companion, And let me mourn in peace.
In Memory of Bertha Ann, 1984
EVENING OF LIFE By Anupama Gangavati, MD
Inside the nursing home In a small corner There…I saw her Eyes dark and dried of tears Wrinkled face Reflecting fatigue Her gray hair in a total mess Like the evening of her life.
“I lost my best friend…of eighty years” She said “I hope my time will come soon” Overwhelmed, I got confused Didn’t know how to react I even lost my own smile And now, In my solitude, The silence of the night Seems to be telling me something That I hate to believe Perhaps a sheer reality
And now, Those dark eyes haunt me As I close my eyes And ask myself “Does old age bring miseries?”
And now, The silence of the night Leaves me wondering And just wondering….
The Baby Killer Susan Lane, RN, MSN, MBA
Pain… searing Belly… throbbing There is no baby. There will be no baby. Endometriosis.
Finding meaning while on call in early daily light savings time….. By Booker T. Bush, MD
I remember teaching some of you How to be on call ‘Not an architect, but a fireman be’. Round early Before the family Who will Express their need and wanting Their time usually after noon You must grant, but can avoid By, Rounding early
And the white cloud Granted’on Friday an easy evening With no calls, So much so that you tested your beeper, And Saturday evening and night, Shortened By an act of a cowardly congress, Made you arise early, to meet A woman Admitted with delirium Perhaps due to too much medication for pain Who said While tearing at her hair, (there is a witness, an intern enthralled) I am in pain and you withhold it from me, isn’t there an imbetween place with the medications…? Something between pain and confusion And we stood barriered, For she had this before done. But while tearing at her hair (straightened though Black but now returned to not) said I have my lung cancer, And my breast disfigured But one of my daughters, has just been told She also, has a breast that must be removed, And another, who has been told, That both breasts must Be removed And another who also must Sacrifice her uterus… And perhaps her breasts also Finding meaning…
I raised them As best I could I gave them My all, and now there is this Only tears And pain, And no imbetween Daughters with No breasts, No uterus And you withhold My pain medication
And we can only listen And listen And she becomes more calm And she apologizes And she becomes calm And we listen. And she begins to heal And because of the white cloud, and Because of the easy evening, And because of a cowardly congress.
I go to church to sing Corelli And I have time to think, Before seeing more patients. This is what we do, We listen, we take the time And the Corelli.
So I won’t write of the call About the cats, biting toes That 2 Percoset Every 4 hours Can’t heal It is the time, Un imbursed that the architect, nor the Fireman Wishes to offer.
Thank God, For the time For the Corelli
Emotions By Nagma KC, RN
With an inspiration to heal Eyes open up without much sleep Rushing, off I go towards my journey Heart full of love and care hands full of devine touch less load, alas! no much work there is, and so is hope
I try my best to heal Lessen the sorrow and erase the inner soul with pain Easy work it ain't, Emotionally drenching it is, My heart is filled with pain Seeing the moans, and the groans helplessness and shrill cries Oh Lord! I whisper Please Help Him/ Help Her Dear God, I say take away their sorrow, Oh Please! take away their pain
Doctors are called, medicines are given Eyes become teary and my heart heavy Why is there so much pain, I ask Everyday, every hour, every second Hazy my view becomes I quit! I say A hand on my shoulder A smiling face, it's my colleague It's the Nurse It's okay she says, You can do it
With a new vision, off I go Helping again, the sick 8 hours are gone, now is the time Mercy Lord, I survived I say And, I healed and spread love Tired, sad, happy I leave for home Will be back tomorrow, I say Will do a better job, I dream Help us all, I pray Dear God! Dear Lord take away all sorrow and pain!