Authored by Rachel Boyette and her sister, in-House Magazine editor-in-chief, Lydia Boyette, DO, MBA
I am a 25-year-old resident physician of anesthesiology
My sister and I are bonded by genetics, anatomy and biology
I am a senior in high school at age 18.
My sister and I are bonded by love and everything in between.
This is our story of how disease and deformities would strike
Which forever altered our lives’ trajectories and career paths alike.
As former patients, becoming caring physicians now is our single aim.
Our destinies in medicine, we are therefore laying claim.
I was diagnosed with syringomyelia and dextroscoliosis with a 55-degree Cobb angle.
Belonging to me were vertebrae which non-invasive treatments could not disentangle.
Boston braces and physical therapy fell short which led to one conclusion.
Two Harrington rods and 17 titanium screws aided the inevitable T4-L2 spinal fusion.
Into this world, I was born at 27 weeks gestation.
Weighing 1.5 pounds, I was deemed a miraculous creation.
Prematurely, my sagittal sutures closed as if misconducted.
Craniosynostosis required that my cranial vault be reconstructed.
Fast-forward fifteen years later: it is the year twenty-twenty.
A disease has struck the world and taken lives in plenty.
This is an election year with the same vision as hindsight.
But disease does not discriminate based on political opinion: left or right.
Coronavirus, perhaps in medical school, there was a brief mention.
Currently, the novel mutation has captivated mass global attention.
It overpowered the world infecting others while also spreading.
A downward spiral seemed the direction that we were heading.
In a high school classroom, dreams of summer I was anticipating.
These were shattered quickly because disease was communicating.
COVID-19 demanded notoriety from those in the highest positions.
Social distancing and quarantine were required by governments and physicians.
Without remorse, the novel virus, like an icy wind, blisters.
My thoughts were frozen on the health of my parents and little sisters.
Those are for who I was worried, I must confess.
For myself, I was not frightened or could I care less.
Sometimes, I feel helpless because I am only eighteen.
I am trapped in my home: a quarantine.
Isolation became mandatory for almost everyone I knew.
All must stay home except for the unfortunate, “essential” few.
I am scared for my sister: it’s true.
Even though you’re at home, I am scared for you too.
I am following your path to medicine with patience.
I am proud though not surprised that your goal is caring for patients.
Physicians were instrumental in our tedious surgeries and pediatric care.
Our appreciation to all health care professionals we desire to share.
Even though, the virus has chained the world with crippling trepidation.
Thank you for bravely Carrying On Via Intent Determination!
Author’s note: All ideas, thoughts, and themes expressed in this poetry piece are solely those of the authors and do no reflect any opinions, ideals, beliefs, political views, or values of any other entities including but not limited to academic, medical, non-profit, or for-profit institutions to which the authors may or may not be affiliated.
Image credit: Images courtesy of the authors. The pictures featured include: Rachel in the neonatal intensive care unit with the authors’ father’s wedding band adorning her tiny wrist, and an x-ray film of Dr. Boyette’s spine prior to her operation.