A patient waits. And waits.


I sit before you and others like you, in silence, anxious about what I might be told. You deliver a litany of questions to my countenance as I sit in a chair beside you. Your attention is diverted to the cold and detached computer screen where my responses are entered without you ever noticing the fear in my eyes. There is no acknowledgment to indicate a level of understanding of my plight. How can I place my trust, which is sacred to me, to someone who doesn’t know me? How I wish to share my story because to know my story is to truly know me. But there seems to be no time for that. No time for empathy. No time for understanding. No time.

I am vulnerable; I am anxious about the unknown that stands before me. The specter of illness is hiding in the shadows encroaching on my existence. The core of me lies before you awaiting a sign that I will not face this journey alone. But I wait in silence — do you hear me?

The art of healing is about more than simply treating disease. It’s about healing the mind along with the body, affecting change in those who sit before you — awaiting words of hope and encouragement.

I touched so gently the frail wings of a beautiful, cobalt-blue butterfly as I walked a woodland trail. It was resting on a cluster of leaves that had made the transition from green to crimson, signaling the approaching autumn. It seemed it had been awaiting my arrival. Just for a brief moment, during the silence that separated the two of us, we acknowledged the existence of each other, the importance of each other. Such a simple act. Somehow, during these few fleeting seconds of time, this recognition helped soothe my fears as this beautiful butterfly then flew skyward.

There is much to be learned during moments of shared trust. The shards and ragged pieces that make up my life’s journey do not seem as threatening if they are set free instead of remaining buried within me. Please, listen and stand beside me.

And so I wait. I wait.

Michele Luckenbaugh is a patient. 

Image credit: Shutterstock.com


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