Beek poem published in Health and Humanities Journal

Kudos to MSN FNP student Terra Beek, who had her poem “Pause” published in the spring issue of Health and Humanities Journal.

Well done, Terra!

*Pause

Pause.

Finely pressed scrubs? Check.
Brand spankin’ new stethoscope? (do I wear it around my neck? nah, pocket is fine.) Check.
Pharmacology pocket book? Check.
Nervous? Check…

Knock, knock.
No answer.
–A pause.
I lift my hand to knock again when I hear—

“Come in,” a faint, barely audible voice echoes.

I open the door.
There is a solitary ray of light.
I stiffen up, eyes alit with eagerness and with a smile say,
“I am your nurse today, is there anything you need right now?”
[Whew, went just as practiced.]

She exhales.
She glances out the window.
I wait…

and wait…

She responds, “Nothing you can help me with, dear.”

I deflate. Her weary eyes tell a tale.
A tale beyond my overstuffed scrub top,
With a crisply new pocket medicine book, or shiny penlight…
There is silence. No one moves.
Two people, two stories.
Agonizing silence…
Til—
She stirs! I exhale…Her hand moves to reveal—

A bible.

And everything is illuminated.

No shiny textbook can explain the human response

to suffering.

And I became present.
And so we sat, hand in hand, together in one long
Pause.

*This poem is dedicated to my very first patient, who taught me lessons beyond a textbook.