What I discovered (and this is even more difficult with all of the new advances and new technology) is that often the most difficult role of a physician may be knowing when to "let go," and just "to be."
Healers and Healing
the ancient covenant between physician and patient
a promise to cure,
and to restore.
appears in many forms--
The right antibiotics for an infectious organism
The curative chemotherapy for a malignant tumor
The correct diagnosis in a complex case.
But what of the terminal diagnosis
with no treatment options
when your diagnostic skills are no longer required
your presence will not alter the course?
Healing manifests on the purest level--
an extension of the soul,
aiding in the acceptance of the process
finding peace and serenity
on the path leading to transition.
and emotional distress.
No longer with technical devices
and the newest medication.
A cheerful smile
An open ear
A gentle touch
A warm embrace
Taking the time to listen, to be
to share a part of yourself.
becomes an expression of caring and love.
The greatest gift of all
may be the ability
to walk with a person
help provide them with strength
on their path to transition
and then let go.
© 1996 Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS
About the Poem
Healers and Healing poem was one that I used in a resource included for an AMSA presentation that I gave in 2001 to medical students on Caring For The Person,Not Just The Patient In End-of-Life Care. It was featured as an article on "Healers and Healing: Learning to 'Let Go' published on the old Beyond Indigo site in 2002.
Healers and Healing is a poem that I continue to shared with my bereavement graduate students as part of the Bereavement Course that I teach.
Dyer K. 1996. Healers and Healing. 1996. Journey of Hearts Site.
Dyer K. 2001. Caring For The Person,Not Just The Patient In End-of-Life Care. Dealing with Death & Dying in Medical Education and Practice. AMSA's 51st Annual Convention, Friday, March 30, 2001.
Dyer K. 2002. Healers and Healing: Learning to Let Go. Journey of Hearts Site.
Butterfly from Auora 26