It has been two weeks now.
It seems as though at any moment
She will be gone forever.
Every morning I come see her
And I hold her hand.
An action to transfer the pain
From her then onto me.
We have made this a ritual.
We do not speak nor even look,
We simply close our eyes and hold hands.
I had long feared what happened this morning.
We conducted our ritual as usual
But this time she gave me not just her pain
But her soul.
I realize once I begin to let go, but she does not
I cry although I should not.
It happens because of the bond made from this simple ritual.
I call for the nurse and leave the room,
I wipe my tears with the hand which held hers.
The tears get absorbed,
I know now that she still lives.
All because of our little ritual.
As physician caseloads become overwhelmingly large and modern medicine evolves to adopt new technologies, meaningful connections between physician and patient may become more difficult to create and maintain. Whether it be from the use of telemedicine or time constraints during visits, the human connection can sometimes be lost. My poem highlights a small ritual conducted between a physician and a patient to show that compassion and empathy can be conveyed by even the smallest of actions and still have profound impacts on both individuals. Showing compassion and empathy towards patients is essential in medicine, often leaving the patient more satisfied with their care, allowing them to feel human — not just a medical problem. This poem is an embodiment of the physician I strive to become. It also serves as a reminder that as a future physician, I will be treating patients holistically and not only their physical disease.