Strong arms of attendants assist the move,
shimmying butt and torso from gurney
to hard metal table, where I lie
watching the drip of clear fluids
in the plastic chambers of the IV’s.
Education made me know
more than what is wise—
the size of the endotracheal tube,
the mammoth instrument in my mouth
making the tube’s insertion possible,
and the remote prospect
of missing the target.
I’d heard of anesthesia not working,
and immobilized patients feeling
every scalpel cut, unable to cry out.
I watched the familiar white medicine
that would put me to sleep, or so I hoped,
dripping in the tubing, until
I woke being lifted again,
back onto the gurney,
the blazing white sun
blinding my eyes alive.
Greg Stidham is a retired pediatric intensivist (ICU physician) currently living in Kingston, Ontario, with his wife Pam and their two foundling “canine kids.” Greg’s passion for medicine has yielded in retirement to his other lifelong passions—literature and creative writing.