Dear Doctor,

Father, brother, hero man
With steady, strong, and studied hand
Make ember flare and fire burn
O prophet of some sight returned
Super scrubbed, anesthetize
The Hungry darkwithin these eyes
War-torn retinas’ wrinkles smooth;
These endless tears of grief remove.
Laser doubt, despair, and loss;
I’m no Jesus;please lift this cross.
Suture patience, strength, and hope-
You have to have the antidote.
Prescribe the light, inject Maybe
Restore Someday’s warm hope to me

Your patient patient

I wrote that poem on June 17, 2012 after yet another follow up visit to my beloved retinologist, Dr. Steven J. Rose, MD. Since arriving in Rochester 24 years ago, he has nurtured my spirit as he has treated me medically. His soft spoken brilliance, palpable compassion, and absolute professionalism have sustained me as my vision receded. As witchy as it sounds, the poem is an homage to the beauty and intensity of our relationship. Elements of mystery and magic continue to linger within the realm of medicine for even the most scientifically astute patient. We commonly and irrationally turn our caregivers into superheros and gods, projecting our fears and faith onto the tangible humans who treat us. Of course, armed with scalpels and RX pads, they are merely instruments of the invisible “Great Healer”, but it is comforting to hold them close and celebrate them.


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