March 12, 2013

if you find yourself in medical school

this poem was inspired by a writing prompt and THIS AWESOME POEM by neil gaiman
It's still a work in progress, but I wanted to share it in the meantime...

Instructions (for what to do if you find yourself in medical school)

First, Don't Panic.
you need to know that it's okay to walk through doors marked
even though you won't feel either safe or authorized, go for it
it's totally normal.

so walk through Door #1
put on a mask and a gown
your slippers
and a hat
only your eyes and hands are exposed for expression
and then you put on your gloves
you may start to feel like you've entered a wonky version of Cinderella's ball

but then you'll see spacemen and robots
through the glass window next to Door #2 
Walk in.  Backwards. Without touching anything blue.
Your nose may start itching at this point.
Whatever you do, DO NOT SCRATCH IT.
or you'll have to leave the room.

but if you stay a while
you may get to hold a beating heart,
use a saw to remove someone's dying leg
listen to someone's lung struggle to inflate
remove a tumor that's larger than all the organs inside the abdomen
give someone back her movement
his independence
their lives
be the first hands to hold a new person as she enters the world
the last hands he holds as he passes 
you may get to be the eyes that someone looks to when he's scared
when she's relieved
when he doesn't understand
when she's accepted  that death is coming soon.

and just when you think your brain (or your heart) is full
it's only just started
kind of like your bladder
(that's an inside joke that will make sense later on) 

you will feel like you don't have any time
to walk outside
take a deep breath
say a prayer
jump in the shower
or call your mother
but you do and you should

because in this life, you will fall often -  
flat on your face, both literally and metaphorically
maybe into love
definitely off track (though you'll come back)
and into uncomfortable situations left and right
but despite how it feels
you are getting better at this.

and believe it or not,
you'll also find time to hike up mountains
you will see sunrises that most people miss
hear stories about why people make the choices they make
and how they came to be who they are

I should tell you that you will also meet wonderful people
people you will depend on for your sanity,
whose eyes you can look for when you're unsure what your role is
when you don't know what to do
when you think you can't hold on anymore

and if you remember only one thing, make it this:
remember the magic
 even though you will understand all the underlying mechanisms,
take a moment to just breath, listen,
and revel in the world of wonder you have entered

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