What am I doing? What is going on?
I don’t know where to go! Where is the workroom?
That COVID-19 patient, off my list 2 hours later — she was gone
Did I do something wrong? Is this white coat just some costume?
Alone, confused, scared, shock, lost.
Empowered, responsible, knowledgeable, trusted.
Right now, I was the former, feeling some type of crossed
I wanted to be the latter, polished and adjusted.
Medical school had prepped me for this moment
I had the MD, I had achieved what I wanted for so long
Day one brought me down to earth, prepping me for the long ascent
Residency was going to be this drawn out song.
Discordant, unharmonious, painful to the ears
That’s how great music starts out.
At first, it’s a cacophony of unsureness and fears,
Which changes into a musical masterpiece full of clout.
Day 2 was what made me realize this journey
It was a patient of mine, my very first as a doctor.
I go to the room, assert my position as a result of this MD degree.
Let me introduce myself as his doctor. My mind concurs.
What are you coming in with? What’s going on?
Reading the chart, my face turns from glee to gloom.
That river full of life, after years of living, now bygone
Lying in bed, weak, sullen, sort of a flume.
The story then begins to unfold
I begin to listen, intent on getting all the details down.
I’m the doctor, I need all this info, lest I forget something I was told
And so the patient musters up strength, resting in his generic hospital gown.
Soon enough, I’m grappled in the story
It’s hard to bear, afflicted wounds for such a young soul
I know I’m getting a history, but it’s now become a story
Infused with emotion and his mental toll.
My mind takes a seat, it’s a lot to bear
The patient keeps talking, off-loading all this burden.
And now we’re intertwined, it’s his story that I now share
30 minutes later, he says, “Thanks young doc.” I take it now we’re friends.
Day by day, I begin to learn a lot more
Visits to the room become more of an event.
That’s MY patient on the floor
His wife by his side, sitting on his bed, upright and unbent.
She speaks motivating dialogues
My patient has told her about me.
She says she doesn’t like I’ve become a hog
I stand alarmed, shocked, unsure of what she sees.
She says, you got more out of him than she could have imagined
It’s not just the cancer, the breathing problems, the pain.
I know his life story, she says out of compassion
It makes our day to see you, to pick your brain.
He begins to say, “You’re a young man just starting out
I can’t leave a bad impression
First impressions last, no doubt
I’m excited to see your exponential progression”
First day jitters, first day introductions
Second day histories, second day stories.
The life of a training physician is this great transduction
of energy garnered by gathering stories upon stories
Stories — that’s what I gather now
They’ve become quite like a collection
Some generically unique, some which are like wow
But all which have a genuine patient connection.
Stories — that’s what each patient brings
I am a physician. But I am also a listener, an observer
An appreciation is made from the little things
Medicine is the body’s preserver, stories are the soul’s preserver.