StoryCorps Chicago: 'Writing Has Been A Good Outlet For My Emotions On Tough Days'
Vishal Bhuva recently completed a residency in the emergency room at Stroger Hospital. To commemorate the occasion, he came to StoryCorps with his younger brother, Parag, and read a poem that he composed about the experience.
Editor’s Note: The audio version of this story contains an abridged version of the poem. The full text is below:
“Trauma” by Vishal Bhuva
I step into the shower.
“I’m taking my time today,” I think.
A son dies. His mother mourns.
His physician mourns.
“During his second apnea test … if he does not breathe … that will be his time of death,” I share softly.
His mother’s eyes - laser focused on mine, yet wet with grief - desperately search for hope.
“We believe he is brain dead.”
“We are testing to confirm if he has died.”
“If he has no breathing, then he has died, and we will disconnect the ventilator.”
Should I be giving more hope when I know the inevitable?
I try to prepare his mother with my words and touch, my face somber.
How futile is my task!
This woman nurtured this 21 year old in her womb for 9 months.
She wrestled him playfully as she changed his diapers.
She watched her 10 month old like a hawk, ensuring his safety.
She gave him her milk. She spent hours of her life preparing his food, giving him values, teaching him his mother tongue.
She laughed as her little boy tickled her. She read to him. She worked overtime to buy him a birthday present. She worked even harder to pay for him to go to college.
So much love from his mother.
And such beautiful dreams she had for her child.
How futile my task to prepare her...
Her gut-wrenching wail of despair.
She cannot absorb anything.
Her son had just kissed her goodbye a few hours ago, and hopped onto his bicycle, shortly before getting ploughed by a speeding driver, who had just kept driving.
He has no reflexes. He has no spontaneous breath. His mother watches me. In another six hours the apnea test will be performed again, and he will be declared dead.
I will be home. I’ve finished my thirty sleepless hours. I’ll be back tomorrow.
But in this moment, as my tears mix with the hot water, and sorrow hammers at my being, I think of my own wife and child, sleeping in the next room.
Time ticks on. Always.
And I am grateful for this day with them.
Bill Healy produces StoryCorps Chicago for WBEZ and teaches journalism at Northwestern University. Follow him @chicagoan.