They teach me how to take, and then
they send me to you. I take your history,
your blood, your time. A couple of secrets:
this morning we drew out molecular
pathways on whiteboards in a different
building; we laughed at ourselves because
we can never pronounce anything right.
Also, the five times I stood by your bedside
and pulled back your hospital gown and
listened and said I could hear your heart
murmur, I was lying all but one of them.
I have gotten through life unscarred by
using words as a platelet plug, throwing
them at the wounds, at what I’ve done
wrong, hoping that the bleeding stops.
That wouldn’t work here. I speak only in
conditionals: I used to write poems in
lower case and italics so they would look
quieter. For a moment a blue sheet shifts
and I see your neck, bare and bloodless.
Another secret: really, I am here only to
watch. To watch and to take. It was meant
to be real, but somehow I have already
absorbed all the meaning of language I can’t
even speak yet. There are other relevant
questions, other answers. The last thing
you ate before it hurt too much. You wore
a blue dress to your granddaughter’s
wedding. Sometimes we both forget which
surface of life is real. I watch and I take.
And out of all the things I have taken there
was one that I was given: they said
these are the masks we wear.
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Education| September 2017
Medical Student in the Operating Room
Accepted for publication March 31, 2017.
Anesthesiology September 2017, Vol. 127, 583–584.
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Rebekka DePew; Medical Student in the Operating Room. Anesthesiology 2017; 127:583–584 doi: https://doi.org/10.1097/ALN.0000000000001664
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