|Solidarity involves commitment, and work, as well as the recognition that even if we do not have the same feelings, or the same lives, or the same bodies, we do live on common ground. --Sara Ahmed|
Going Into the Hospital: COVID 19 (Poem)--by Sriram Shamasunder, May 08, 2020
Going into the hospital: COVID 19
When I walk out the door these days
For a shift in the hospital
Two small people cry at the door
My daughter and son.
4 and 1 1/2
big drops against their full brown cheeks
My first inclination is to dismiss their dramatics
I will be back soon
They are on one side of the door
And I am on the other
And they would much rather be on the same side of the door
Rumpling through the leaves on the Oakland sidewalk
Taking a long walk around the neighborhood
To visit a Japanese oak,
Or a fennel bush
Or a neighbor who may unexpectedly peak out their window.
It is their immediate acknowledgment that they would rather be with their father
Wherever he may be going and whatever that might bring
When I head into the hospital
I am aware that any missteps of face to mouth or
by poor luck or chance could pull me away from
seeing my two lovelies grow up
I can picture myself as one of my patients
trying to catch their breath like trying to catch a bus that’s too far ahead
Breathing like you sprinted a mile and another mile
your breath won’t slow
The fear that creeps in.
And isn’t this how’s it’s always been
Life as fragile as a leaf hanging on a tall tree about to tumble to earth
And to be apart
May mean to be apart longer than anyone may have predicted
And to be apart now
May cost us our lives
What I am learning from my two little ones:
give in to the jubilant joy of being with the ones we love
And mourn when they are not near
What could be more honest?
Or more important
For more context on the work Dr. Shamasunder and the HEAL Initiative are involved with on the ground in Navajo Nation check out these links:
Sriram Shamasunder, MD, DTM&H is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCSF, and co-founder of Heal Initiative. He completed his Internal Medicine residency at Harbor UCLA. He has worked extensively in Rwanda, Liberia, Haiti, Burundi, and India. Recently, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship where he studied implementation in resource-poor tribal areas in rural India. In 2010, he was named an Asia 21 fellow as well as the Northern California Young Physician of the Year. He continues to work with Partners in Health (PIH) several months a year.
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Forever is composed of nows.
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