|This is the first in a new blog series by early career professionals and trainees. Check back each month for a new post by up and coming professionals!|
Smiling, he told me he didn’t know
That his heart had stopped in the ICU
I probably didn’t need to mention it
But here he is, with newly diagnosed end-stage everything
And he’s still smiling.
Wow, he breathed.
I know, I said. Crazy.
A year later, his teeth still shone
He wore three pairs of pants to keep his skinny legs warm in the Rochester
I saw him sporadically
He had his calendar filled with doctors for each organ
One evening, when I was on call for our practice a page came through with his
Seven hours of vomiting with no fever.
He never gets a fever, I remembered.
He said he had a ride to the ED and that he’d go now.
The next day, with no ED visit recorded, our nurse called to check in on him.
There was no answer.
The next day, the coroner’s office called.
I called all of his specialists. I told my close colleagues.
It was therapy, repeating the story and its abrupt ending
I sought no reassurance, just shared shock
On my last phone call, my eyes rested on the new green surrounding the trees
outside the window.
A Scarlet Tanager, bright red and sparrow-shaped, jumped from branch to branch.
Fearless, open to predators, and not caring to blend into upstate gray
It stayed in my view for 30 seconds.
I relayed its movements, like a sportscaster to the gracious ear
It kept jumping, brilliant wings aflutter until it flew west
The branch bounced and I grew quiet
Wow, I breathed.
I know, She said, Crazy
|I'm a 3rd year resident at the University of Rochester
Family Medicine program where my patients' stories become a part of my
life. I like writing, taking photographs
in Iceland and buying produce at the public market.|