The Trenches

By Magda Kowalcykowski

In the dawn, the sun stretches and says hello

To the scant clouds dancing in the sky below


A symphony of sound greets the ear

To all those who for the first time enter here

A bed alarm, a beep, an occluded IV

A spontaneous operetta, a vigil, a visitor or three


The cogs of the wheel start turning

So many questions to ask, still burning

Which fluids to give, how many cc’s?

Can you check on that blood culture please?


Call the lab, let’s get a smear

Can you tell anisocytes from poikilocytes my dear?

Your patient is coming, where is the emergency room?

What magical case awaits? You will find out soon!


GI bleed or a cough, what’s on your plate?

Altered mental status?  UTI?  Or fractured shoulder blade?

Is it staph or strep, how do you treat?

Azithro and ceftriaxone, or the ultimate vanco, hard to beat


Ask your questions, be thorough, but you must be quick,

For we have more patients lined up who are quite sick!

CMP, pan scan, check the retick

Echo, ECG, tropes, how many procedures in 1 day can you fit?


You can’t eat Mr. Jones, you’re about to get scoped

Oh it’s your birthday?  Newlyweds? You just eloped?

A treasure trove of stories from eras gone by

Centenarians offer wisdom, as you look into their eye


Into the ocean, you jump

You can wade around, or dive in deep

Learning a lifetime of lessons

from the wise and weathered company you keep


A window will be opened and the most glorious view

The hunger, the pain, the joy, the drive – the soul of humanity laid bare

For all who have courage to look and enter there


Into the sanctuary, with an oath, we are sworn in,

Primum non nocere

Though we may always try, it is a battle we can’t always win

Against the scourge of disease and age, many treatments, tried and true

But may each day we have enough faith, courage, and strength to serve everyone anew


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