Stories for My Daughter

Poetry, Volume 5; Issue 2

Tell me about your patients, she asks
Before a song, before a kiss, before goodnight
As a toddler there were fairy tale endings
A man came in today and his heart wasn’t squeezing very well
We made it better
No one ever died

Now there are no more fairy tales
The man who drinks too much and destroys his liver
The woman who smokes with lung cancer
Consequences. Realities.

But I want to share more than a diagnosis with her
I want her to hear the stories and see the patients as I do
To glimpse the colors and textures of my daily doctoring fabric

Tell me about your patients, she asks
A grandmother with pneumonia warmly surrounded by pictures of her 88 grandchildren
A 90-year-old widow, with freshly manicured red nails, anxiously clutching
the latex glove balloon her grandson created
A 50-year-old man embarking on a month of inpatient chemotherapy
with bravery and a sweet smile through his tears

I share with her the imagery of the humanness and fragility
that breaks my heart a little every day
Sharing gratitude for my patients
in the stories for my daughter

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