To The Doctors

"To The Doctors" - 3/31/21

Today was a day to celebrate doctors.
Ironically, I felt so paralyzed with gratitude
(who knew that could be a thing)
That I reached out to none of mine directly
But I meditate and reflect perpetually
On the opportunity brilliant, skilled, talented and committed
Doctors' efforts in my recent life have granted me

For many years I avoided doctors as much as I possibly could
You could say that cancer was my catchup
I probably hadn't been to a doctor since a decade-prior bout
With pneumonia in a foreign country, when literally, I was
Forced by circumstance to prioritize my health immediately
I always thought of doctors as people who chose, voluntarily,
To do something relatively crazy, literally

I could never wrap my head around the impetus
To be so devoted, so fearless and so driven to help
To be of service but also to submit to the obvious stress
I dated a doctor and saw this up close; the juxtaposition
Between a gifted healing ability bolstered by years of studying
Perpetually and the absolute need to decompress completely
Offset by the inability to do so, adequately; it confounded me

Every member of my immediate family has had their life
Saved by a doctor and I'm sure that will be the case again
Life, as they say, only heads in one direction and
As I approach what I hope will be its midpoint as healthily as
I possibly can I ruminate that my years of having the luxury
To avoid doctors has definitively come to an end and I see
The faces of a few physicians in particular who have been more

Than merely life-saving, but life affirming and those are the
Individuals I especially honor, internally, with these lines
Sure, there have also been the ones whose bedside manner
Was abrupt – or who I felt even manipulated my sense of trust
To move in directions uncomfortable, or downright questionable
But more often than not, I have had the wherewithal somehow
To make my way through the maze of the medical complex

To doctors who have been nothing short of saintly
Some of them even had the graciousness and generosity
To join me in my efforts to cast light on Women's Cancer
I almost felt guilty asking, knowing how precious their time is
And that if it was me as their current patient I might not approve
Of such distractions; but balance is elusive and who's to say
What the definition should be when breath, blood and bones

Are the stuff of ongoing, ephemeral and overwhelming priority?
To the one who gave me my radiation therapy, with kindness,
Compassion and levity; to the one who agreed to see me simply
To offer advice, even when clear I would not choose to be his
Patient; to the one who distracted me with anecdotes while
Administering the ultrasound; to the one who talked to me about
A son's classical music pursuits while distracting me from

The procedure at hand; to the one who wasn't afraid – in an age
Where touch is not exactly encouraged in any realm – to hold
My hand while bearing challenging news, emanating from an
Incandescently compassionate face; to the one who told me,
Unequivocally, during chemo that I was "very, very brave"
Thank you, thank you, and thank you for making me feel safe
And for making thousands of others feel the very same way

As a matter of course, and because you have chosen
To heal and to try when failure's not an option
And when, as it does, health eludes best intentions
Thank you for resuming the next interventions
With equal parts grace and professionalism
Thank you for your valor, your focus, your vision
I toast, with green juice, to your hippocratic oaths' fruition!