A visit from The Healing Muse: 'On Call'
Deirdre Neilen, PhD, shares a selection from Upstate‘s literary journal, “The Healing Muse,” every Sunday on “HealthLink on Air.” Neilen is the editor of the annual publication featuring fiction, poetry, essays and visual art focused on themes of medicine, illness, disability and healing. Read The Healing Muse Cafe Blog.
Today‘s selection is "On Call" by Tabor Flickinger. Order your copy of “The Healing Muse” today.
Deirdre Neilen, PhD: To be on call for a physician means that one may not be physically present in the hospital, but one must be available by phone for the residents or nurses who are on duty to call. Tabor Flickinger practices as a general internist. Her work has appeared in Pulse Magazine and Yale Journal for Humanities and Medicine.
Her short poem "On Call" shows us the balancing act the physician maintains as he or she is at home with family while simultaneously thinking about the patients in the hospital.
A hospice nurse desired an opiate elixir
For a body past swallowing
A soul rattling its way out
I sent it as an offering to smooth his path
After five more calls for other people's problems
He has passed on, now at peace
We speak in tones hushed not only for his gravity
But to preserve unrippled my child's dream
The vibration of others' peril infiltrates my home
And brings the whole to sharp relief
I whisper benediction into the dark