“Is THIS a crisis?”

I find myself asking this question


ever since the hospital said it was so.

Was it a crisis when she died

last week?

Or was it last month? We thought we

brought her back but it didn’t work,

not for long,

and I can still hear her husband

crying when I remember.

Is losing that leg a crisis?

Or going blind in that eye?

I know getting laid off is one,

even worse for being too sick and

too unprofitable to be cared for,

like being homeless or

addict or


Isn’t every day in the hospital

the crisis of a lifetime for a patient?

It’s true.

It’s always been true. But still,

I stare at the tube sprouting from

between my patient’s ribs

and touch my own scars, wincing.

Could that happen to me again?

Yup, that would be a bona fide


Even more so if what got them

comes back to get me


I tighten my mask.

You wouldn’t know it scrolling through

the social lives of everyone I envy

that our hallways are haunted,

our last reserves beyond spent

(indebted really),

and I barely have the energy to

read that damn email

much less reply.

and write a grant

to do research

to prevent some other


The real crisis is

every crisis

that didn’t have to


Sometimes I giggle a bit when

I hear the crisis word,

but only because I am cried out,

my kids are cried out,

all my friends are cried out,

all of us altogether always:

Crisis and Crying,

two of the three C words I want

to never hear again.



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One response to “Crisis”

  1.  Avatar

    Hi Dave,

    Longtime reader, first time (online) commenter.

    It’s been an extremely long time since we talked, really glad you’re keeping up your writing. I think it’s important since people/the media/hospital administration/whoever want to forget or assume that what’s happening in hospitals is ok. Keep it up.

    -Richard D.

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