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I’ll Wait With You

May 04, 2020
by Amanda Calhoun

At times my thoughts are just as loud

As the beep of the machine

At times my thoughts are just as loud

As the code being screamed

I shush them as I jog, then sprint, into the patient’s room

I shush them as I do compressions, fight impending doom

I refuse to let my thoughts venture to that awful place

Years ago, at my school, where I paced

Waiting to hear news I knew would come

Hoping what was done would come undone

My principal found me. “I’ll wait with you,” she said.

“Ok.” I looked out of the window at the roses, focusing on the red.

My parents arrived, my heartbeat began to quicken

My stomach began to hurt, then sicken

Mom’s voice shook as she whispered what I knew

I rushed into her arms, hot tears flew

“What happened…?” said my principal

“I’m so sorry…” I spaced out and there was a lull

I tell myself my tragedy

Will help me to relate

But all I can feel is fury, sorrow

All I can do is recreate

That moment long ago

When I realized children die

When I realized he would never come home

I never got to say goodbye

Death is not always calm, like never waking from a dream

Sometimes it comes suddenly, an extinguishing light with a scream

And all we can do is hug each other tight

The doctor can’t cure them

We lost the fight

But that is not the time for doctors to go away

In that moment, just stay

Comfort them, tell them you did all that you could

Even if it you don’t think it will help, or that it should

Even though they are overcome with grief

Even though you feel you can bring no relief

I promise that they will never forget that day

They will, undoubtedly, remember all you do and say

Amanda J. Calhoun, MD, MPH, is an Albert J. Solnit Integrated Adult/Child Psychiatry Resident at Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Calhoun graduated from Yale University with a BA in Spanish and received her MD/MPH from Saint Louis University School of Medicine, in St. Louis, Missouri, where she grew up. Dr. Calhoun’s research interests include the improvement of mental health outcomes in the African American community by targeting the trauma of racism. She aims to increase representation of African, African diaspora, and indigenous children, both in the USA and abroad, in academic research. Dr. Calhoun firmly believes that all doctors should be activists and promotes the integration of social justice teaching with medical education. Follow Dr. Calhoun on Twitter: @AmandaJoyMD

Submitted by Alexa Tomassi on May 01, 2020