Distance

What device do we need to close
…..the distance
……..between us and our patients
……..when we can touch
……..their hands but a mask
……..separates them from our
……..connection?
…..the distance
……..between us and our students
……..when we can see their faces
……..but the tiny boxes in grid layout
……..crop their light bulb moments
……..from our view?
…..the distance
…….between the end of a very
…….long year and the dawn of a
…….new normal?


What do we need? Not
……new EMR systems
……more “smart devices”
……bigger data sets
Even in our resilience,
and especially in our struggle,
….we forget that we
……are enough

Notes from the interview that inspired this poem:

“The distance I have been experiencing in the different worlds I live in” is what this physician and medical educator wanted his poem to be about. He noted that COVID-19 safety precautions brought about new distance both between him and his patients and between him and his students. In the former case, he could still be at the bedside and touch his patients, but the mask, face shield, and other protective equipment distanced him from being fully connected to them. In the case of his students, he could see their faces and they could see his, but the distance of being linked via a computer screen meant that the more subtle body language that let him know the exact moment when they “got it” was no longer present. Though he noted that this was a continuing struggle for his profession, he was optimistic that the medical community would be able to find solutions–although once they turned the page, the next chapter would likely look very different than the way it looked pre-COVID.

Interviewee: Anonymous, Physician
Listener Poet: Yvette Perry

Comments are closed.

Up ↑