Month: January 2021

this week

this week I
had a mammogram
which is always painful 
and degrading and cold
something suspicious sent
me back for a repeat
more compression and waiting
possible biopsy
turned out to be a cyst
I drank a mimosa and ate avocado toast in the sunshine

this week I 
worked at the triage desk
and received patient after patient
with small and dire emergencies

this week I 
saved the life of a young man
with a GSW to the chest
pouring unit after unit of blood into his body
while the trauma surgeon opened his chest
and shocked his heart and
gave him intracardiac epi

this week I 
lost the life of someone's 
mother and grandmother
all the efforts to repair her head wound
keep her heart beating 
and warm her body enough to support her blood pressure
failed to save her
she had told her family 
she wanted to die and jumped
down a ravine into the cold creek

this week I called my brother 
in the hospital with sepsis from a
necrotic wound from his wheelchair
he sounded discouraged 
to not be able to tend to his patients
the children of migrant workers
instead he is the patient
going to the OR and ordered 
to not work for 6 weeks

this week my phone died
disconnecting me from everything
I learned how dependent I am on the 
small block of glass and metal
that is also a powerful computer
as well as a lifeline
I didn't know I was missing calls
and texts, the silence was 
unnervingly blissful

this week I 
had an out of body experience
my hands and feet carried out
their usual activities but
my mind could not connect to the present moment
was I dreaming
did that happen
did I have that conversation
the words went through my ears 
but never reached my heart

this week I 
had an argument with my love
hearing  his voice raised in frustration
my heart slamming against my cold sternum
shocked muddled confused
what just happened
why are you yelling
I am not like you
yet I apologize
but don't know what for

this week I 
held the phone for my patient
to speak to his family 
in breathless one word phrases
just before he was intubated 
the virus claimed another set of lungs
and I pushed his bed to the ICU

this week 
I launched a new nurse into practice
after weeks of training her
to think critically under pressure
advocate for her patients 
recognize subtle but dangerous trends 
in her patients conditions
speak up in a noisy trauma room 
because she noticed  the problem
she is ready to be independent

this week I 
laughed and joked with my nurse colleagues
inappropriate and crude
to let off pressure after a grueling shift
the young man whose heart stopped twice
after we shocked him back to life
will probably not recover
and we will never know the truth
about what happened to him
I think of his mother getting the call 
and my laughter turns to tears

this week I 
slept for days
exhaustion never leaving my body
or my soul
no matter how long I slept
my eyes burning from the light
my legs so over tired they feel like cedar logs
my breath slowing
as dreamlessness takes over
then bring coffee