An patient’s ode to healers

Pages of my life turn over
As the breezes of time flow over me.
Remembrances of your presence
As the world welcomed my first born so many years ago.

Your calming voice and words of wisdom reminded me that life
Would be different, but oh so much better.
My little baby girl would grow to be a healer just as you,
Offering hope and consolation to those who seek her out.

Expert hands stitching the brow of my rambunctious toddler,
Telling me that my son would be fine.
Now he is a man grown tall and strong,
Finding his own pathway in this world.

How time has raced on.
When my heart waged a skirmish against me
You were there standing at my side,
Talking me down from the mountain of fear.

Your words of wisdom and compassionate care
Were a salve for my wounded heart.
Encouragement given to spur me on,
Telling me the “sky is the limit”

And so it was.

As chapters of my life are being written, you are there to guide me.
Sharing advice, but always maintaining our partnership, the give and take.
In this sacred clearing, we are each co-creators of this story that is my life.
One telling the story, the other patiently listening.

Roles flipping back and forth as life moves forward.
You are the cushion to soften the fall when life deals a harsh blow.
Always encouraging, always hopeful.

What will happen when your kind is absent,
Forced out by clutching hands, greed, and impatience
Making you feel unimportant and powerless?

Who will be there for comfort and support,
For the healing we search for?

The unconcerned do not see the forest for the trees,
Trees forming a  wall blurring the truth.
But the truth must shine forth.

It has to.

Healers, do not lose hope!
To lose hope is to surrender.
To let them win.

Hold your head high, cluster together.
Let your voices make a resounding clamor, far and wide.
We, who need your healing touch, will be your support
as you have done for us.

This story has not reached its ending.
We both have lines to write
And words to be spoken.

Our partnership is worth fighting for.

This is dedicated to all physicians, to all healers, who have played a significant role in helping us move safely past the roadblocks in our lives. Most recently, our physicians and nurses have served tirelessly on the front lines combatting the coronavirus, a pandemic which has brought a huge loss of life to all parts of the world. Often, they have done this without adequate facilities, protective gear, and supplies at their disposal. To them, we owe our deepest gratitude. They have potentially sacrificed their own lives to attend to the sick and dying during this terrible time.

In the times we live in, the role of the physician has been severely impacted from all sides. The corporatization of medicine and all that it entails has led to the weakening of the once valued doctor-patient relationship. Visits to our physicians have become little more than business transactions between “providers” and “consumers.” Clicks on a keyboard replace face to face discourse.

Doctors are disheartened, overworked, feeling powerless. Their voices have been silenced for fear of retribution. Many are leaving the profession they have worked so hard to obtain and have sacrificed so much for. We ask that their story be told so that the truth of just how dire the situation is becomes known. We deserve and need to have the complete story.

Our brightest are seeking other careers outside the field of medicine. Residencies are being underfunded by Medicare thereby further diminishing the supply of fully qualified doctors. So the shortage of physicians continues to increase with no real solutions in sight. The time will come when we all will have to be content in seeing a “substitute dressed in a white coat”. Someone without the knowledge or experience that you, our physicians, possess. America, this is our wake up call. Hopefully, our recent experience with COVID-19 has taught us valuable lessons. We are, indeed, all in this together. Now is the time to write a different “ending” to this story, before it is too late.

Michele Luckenbaugh is a patient. 

Image credit: Shutterstock.com

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