The Patient

DSC07222I looked up my next patient’s chart on the computer
A twenty year old, with her life ahead of her
Not the usual age group I treat, I thought
The young women are just anxious, more often than not
Their hearts are fine, and all they usually need
Is reassurance that they are healthy indeed
The chief complaint was written down as fatigue
Then I looked at her test results, and I was intrigued
A cancer survivor, her heart was not fine at all
She had survived cancer but it had taken its toll..
Leaving her with a weak heart, that would not sustain
Her through her youth, her life was full of pain
I entered the room with some trepidation
Found her appropriately nervous given the situation
A preliminary round of getting to know her
Unfortunately made it abundantly clear
She had no idea what was ailing her
I was going to be, of bad news, the bearer
Her examination confirmed what I already knew
Solemnly I told her, concerned that this thunderbolt new
Would cause a reaction extreme; instead
She took it more calmly than I expected
Evidently she had weathered storms that were worse
Her next question was whether damage we could reverse
Fearing that she was in shock, I proceeded to mention
What she had ahead of her in terms of her options
She maintained a positive attitude throughout
This was unlikely to last, I had my doubts
I worried she would end up devastated
Turns out her grit I had greatly underestimated..
Fast forward a year; she had obtained
A new lease on life, she was no longer chained
By a failing heart, for her heart was transplanted
Things had turned out exactly as we wanted
Every roadblock she had faced with stoicism and faith
Her success was her own, with little contribution from her fate
Even though she was my patient and I her physician
There was a lot from her that I had learnt
In treating her, spiritual healing I found
My patient taught me life’s lessons profound..

(This poem is a work of fiction and has no resemblance to any actual patient I have treated, though it is derived from my experience as a cardiologist. Patients treated for cancers during childhood can develop intractable heart failure in adulthood from chemotherapy that damages their heart, and some of them may require a heart transplant. )

Published by iheart11

A 30-something year old woman, physician by profession, fiercely passionate about work, family, travel and fashion..

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