Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Sedated – Dear Doctor

Theresa Wyatt

Poet’s statement: After a diagnosis of Neurofibromatosis, Type 2, Theresa returned to writing poetry as a therapeutic venue.  Her poems have appeared in The Healing Muse, Kaleidoscope, the American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine, and the Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, among others. She lives near the beautiful shores of Lake Erie in Derby, New York with her husband.


The air moves acridly

through hospital halls

debauched by sickness

and disease

as dna turns bestial

suspended in the wings

like fog

and from a distance

some say flowers

children bring by day

can sometimes best

the odors during

midnight rounds

when seamlessly

moonlight and morphine

mix a perfume so sublime

that patients have been

known to



the wanderlust of time

exchanging cotton gowns

and blankets for shiny satin

with blue sheen

ah, the sweet delirium of dream

all this before the dawn advances

charging bareback

through the morning light

lifting patients’ eyelids slowly

to a vastly different sight

Dear Doctor

Look into my eyes and know

the dread of the long needle close by,

a reluctant spine lies in wait of your tap

Hold onto this glance and

remember the deep well of tears

within the anxious trinity of patient,

parent and hope

Realize that we understand

your heart obscured

must remain hidden

however moved

See through countless scans and charts

the behemoth that is sickness

and disordered despair

Believe that healing flows

from hand to hand

and that dragon diseases

will only sometimes be slain

Move forward in the passage

between patient and dragon

Allow us the sword.

The author gratefully acknowledges that “Sedated first appeared in March, 2008 on the Cell 2 Soul Humane Healthcare Blog.

Dear Doctor” first appeared in Blood and Thunder, The University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, Fall 2007


THERESA WYATT is a retired teacher and former visual artist who specialized in the student at risk. Her diverse career spanned a study in Siena, Italy, to teaching positions in Tehran, Iran, the New York State Department of Corrections and the Seneca Nation of Indians.


Highlighted in Frontispiece Winter 2010 – Volume 2, Issue 1

Winter 2010  |  Sections  |  Poetry

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