It feels odd to have family members in the hospital regularly again. My patient’s wife approaches cautiously; for a second I pretend not to see her. She looks like she wants to talk and I’m afraid she wants good news I can’t give, promises I can’t make, and time I don’t feel like I have. She wants time to tell me her loved one’s stories.
I first met Ruth in the emergency department when I was a third-year medical student on my psychiatry rotation. She was an “elderly female with psychosis — medical workup negative.” My resident had received a page with a request for her admission and sent me to the ED to speak with her first.
For the first time in history, a pandemic has shut down the entire globe. COVID-19 has affected our lives in many ways, including significantly impacting health care services. Many people, sensing an unseen danger looming in the air, have become increasingly afraid to visit their primary care physicians, and we are now discovering the catastrophic consequences of this delay.
A smear of what I assumed was cat poop obstructed a narrow asphalt path that led to a mobile home. It was raining. I tiptoed around the sopping heap of excrement. Behind me, the wound care attending physician followed.
I remember feeling resentful that he seemed too healthy to have come to the ER in the first place, while I, on the other hand, was shuffling around as if walking ankle-deep in wet cement, dead tired and longing to stretch out on the gurney in the adjoining cubicle.
It was a busy Friday afternoon in the pediatric intensive care unit. The prior evening, he began having profuse lower gastrointestinal bleeding necessitating urgent transfer to the intensive care unit.
twenty-two nights you kept me awake. i counted / them last night, counted them as i lay on my bed with / eyes propped open, trying everything i could to