My Patients, My Heart, My Heavy Weight

This is part of the Medical Humanities Series on Op-Med, which showcases creative work by our members. Do you have a poem, short story, creative nonfiction or visual art piece related to medicine that you’d like to share with the community? Send it to us here.

Heavy

My head
cantilevered precariously on my neck
heavy with worries
about the patient with breast cancer
another overwhelmed with her new baby, and
the one with a fever after surgery.

My heart
caged within my chest
heavy with grief
for the patient who just lost her baby
another who lost herself in the throes of menopause, and
the one who misses her mother as she becomes a mother.

My back
gnarled like an old tree
crouching to help a new mom push her baby out
twisting and turning to perform surgery
leaning and bending to make a patient more comfortable during her exam.

My legs
columns holding me up
heavy with fatigue
from standing strong day and night for
a patient who is laboring day and night.

Like a boa squeezing its prey
the heaviness squeezes the life out of me

I take a deep breath
a breath that opens my throat, my chest, my belly
traveling down, through my legs, my feet and deep into mother earth.

I follow it down
down into the darkness
into the warmth
into the quiet

And there
I let it all go with a big sigh

For a moment, I feel lightness

Andrea Eisenberg has been an obstetrician/gynecologist in the Metro Detroit area for nearly 25 years. Through her many years in Women’s Health, she has shared in countless intimate moments with her patients, and shared in their joys, heartaches, secrets, losses, and victories. In her writing, she captures the human side of medicine and what doctors think and feel in caring for patients. She has documented these stories on her blog. She has been a contributor to "Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine and "Pulse: Voices From the Heart of Medicine." Andrea is also a contributing author at BBN Times and a guest rotating blogger on KevinMD and Doximity. She is currently in Doximity’s 2018-2019 Authors Program.

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