Pectoriloquy |


Steven L. Ablon, MD
Author and Funding Information

Correspondence to: Steven L. Ablon, MD, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114; e-mail: slablon@comcast.net

Editor's Note: Steven Ablon is a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital. He recounts: “I wrote this poem after thinking about how life can turn on a dime, how a medical problem that at first seems highly treatable can gather momentum and, despite every effort, become a family tragedy.”

—Michael Zack, MD, FCCP, Section Editor of Pectoriloquy

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (www.chestjournal.org/misc/reprints.shtml).

Chest. 2008;134(3):669. doi:10.1378/chest.08-0313
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I think epinephrine,
an inhaler, steroids
in the intravenous.
I've seen it work
a hundred times.
In the emergency
room beside him
his kids in bathing
suits, his wife,
a barbecue apron,
his chest heaving,
air hunger grows
intractable, his belly
big as a whale's eye.
It takes four of us
to lift him from
the bed to the gurney,
behind him pushing
like a bobsled team
ready to jump to surgery,
force feed him air,
but his breathing is
a great blue whale
shattered on sand.
I am unable
to drag him back
into the surf.




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