Friday, July 13, 2012

Dream to dream.

I make it alone
When love is gone
Still you made your mark
Here in my heart

One day I'll fly away
Leave your love to yesterday
What more can your love do for me?
When will love be through with me?

I follow the night
Can't stand the light
When will I begin
My life again?

One Day I'll fly away
Leave your love to yesterday
What more can your love do for me
When will love be through with me?
Why live life from dream to dream
and dread the day that dreaming ends?

~ One day I'll fly away, lyrics by Will Jennings


The problem with caring and going back to the bedside is that sometimes, after you've let me inside of your life, I care too much.

My heart is sad today over the loss of my patient who, I just realized, had become my friend.

My colleague-sister-friend, the profesora in Pittsburgh, always reminds me and all of her learners to go back to the bedside. "Go back,"she always says. "To listen and learn and teach and connect."

Go back.

And so I do. And I did. I went back to you. Again and again.

But the question is--what am I supposed to do when I go back and my patient isn't there? What do I do when my patient is gone for good?

I know. Sometimes patients fly away, despite our best efforts. All of us living dream to dream and dreading the day that dreaming ends.

I know the truth. The truth is that, through the lessons you have taught me, you're always there. And so, perhaps as a promise to you more than anyone else, I will go back. I will go back and listen and learn and teach and connect. To honor you and the privilege you gave me as your doctor.

So, for you, I will go back. Again and again.

And sometimes, again.

Because a lot of those dreams come true.
This is Friday. And this is Grady.

Now playing on my mental iPod. . . .Lalah Hathaway sings her haunting version of one of my favorite songs--"One day I'll fly away."


  1. Thank you for your heart and your words.

    1. I should say the same about you and your words. Thank you.

  2. Amen and Amen.

    Maria, fellow Meharrian

    1. The profesora reached out to me and said this:

      "It hurts sometimes but no pain, no gain."

      Amen to that, too.

  3. That must be so very hard. I'm sorry for your loss. I love your pledge to the one you lost that you'll keep going back. The alternative is lonely.

    1. I don't like that alternative, either. I feel bad calling it "my loss." It's all of our loss really. . . .

  4. Losing patients is so very hard. I am sorry.

    1. Me, too. Especially when they're very young like this patient.

  5. That moved me to tears. Again, I'm overcome by your compassion as a physician. I'm sorry for your loss and can't imagine the strength it takes to not just be a doctor but "to go back."

    1. Like my friend reminded me, the gain of going back truly exceeds the pain of times like this. Tonight I reflected on the very best parts of the relationship we built during those hospitalizations. The gain is what makes the pain even possible.


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