Saturday, April 12, 2014

Reflections of an E.N.T. Resident.

Day #1010
2 a.m.
Consciousness waivers.
Confidence cracks.
Resolve thins.
Relationships crumble.
Hunger pains.

And all of these thoughts descend upon me like a sunset
in these precious few moments of silence.

Then the pager blares.
The phone rings.
My legs pump.
The room is crowded.
The blood is on the ceiling.
The machines wail.
My hands move.
The knife slides deep into his neck.
The air escapes from the trachea.
And the room is just a little bit louder. . . .

Because there is one more person breathing in it
than there was 15 seconds ago.

Because I knew what to do with the blade
that I always carry in my back pocket.

Your next breath is not promised.
Love and appreciate each one.

~ Anthony Chin-Quee, Jr., MD, Senior Resident in ENT
Emory University SOM '11, Small Group Alpha

picture in a Michigan call room, Dr Chin-Quee, ENT resident


These are the kinds of messages I get from them sometimes--my current and former students. This poem and the accompanying images (shared with Tony's permission) came to me via text message early this morning from one of my former small group advisees. I've known this young man since his very first day of medical school and had the honor of placing a doctoral hood over his head on that very last day. If we're lucky, those relationships don't end there. 


Man. I'm so moved that, even though he's in the late adolescence of his medical training and even though he's many states away from me now, he chooses to share things like this. And even think things like this.

But how do I mostly feel? Excited. Excited for all of us that there are young physicians like Tony and the many others I know personally. . . . waiting in the wings to save our lives. 

If I haven't told you lately, I'm proud of you, Tony. We all are.

Happy Saturday. You can read another poem from Tony here and read a post inspired by him here.


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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