Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Poetry at the hospital

The hospital's poetry and music slam, held as part of the Schwartz Rounds, is an annual highlight. This is a side of medicine not usually seen by patients, the creative impulses of members of our staff. Some of these are prompted by care-giving experiences, some by family matters, some by other events. With permission of the participants, I offer a small sample in the video below.

The performers are Dr. Mark Gebhardt, playing J.S. Bach's Chromatic Fantasy, BWV 903; nurse Janet Greene reciting "Aged to Stone," a representation of a relative's experience with late-stage Parkinson's Disease; interpreter Domingos Ramos, reading a poem entitled "Ode to Interpreters," written by Shari Gold-Gomez, our Director of Interpreter Services; nurse Marybeth Meservey reciting "Now I know;" case manager Janet Fantasia reading "Respite;" Dr. Catherine Parker reciting "View from a Fourth Row Seat;" and a few stanzas from "Pied Beauty in Primary Care," read by Dr. Leonor Fernandez.

My apologies for the low volume levels, but you can hear these clearly if you turn up your computer's volume. Just in case, though, here is Janet's poem "Respite".

Amidst blue skies and picnickers
he arranges two sun-bleached


chairs side by side,

opens the passenger door


and cradling has wife,

gently raises her tiny form,


pulls her, legs splayed,

delicately hugging the curb


and slides through the grass

lowering her into the seat.


With a click of the radio, he leans

back and loses himself in the ballgame.


If you can't see the video, click here.

6 comments:

Julie Rosen said...

Paul, I am delighted that the Schwartz Center Rounds provided the venue for Beth Israel caregivers to explore the emotional aspects of their experiences through music and poetry. This video is truly a demonstration of compassionate care. Thanks for sharing it. Julie

Jane Sherwin said...

Paul, these shots make me want to work in a hospital--or to be in such a place where emotion is so welcome. I once wrote about the Schwartz Center Rounds for McLean, and found it a wonderful concept. Many thanks. Jane

Anonymous said...

This event is a real treat. As you indicated, patients seldom see this side of providers but equally as important, staff rarely see the the talents and multifacets of their colleagues. This is medicine for the soul!!

Anonymous said...

Can I get some health care? I have massive injuries. Hope the poetry sessions won't interfere with my begging for assistance for year.

Catherine Morocco said...

Dr. Levy

I am currently completing a book of poetry, Recovery: An Experience of Brain Injury that reflects my experience, as a patient, with brain surgeries. I was cared for by Dr. Clark Chen and (ongoing) by Dr. Andrew Cole, both of Harvard Medical School. Your poetry and music slam is a wonderful (and rare) approach to brining personal perspectives to the medical community. Would you like to bring a patient's perspective? I would love to participate as audience or presenter.

Catherine Cobb Morocco, Ed.D

Paul Levy said...

Reply from Dr. Campo after I forwarded your note, Catherine:

Thanks for the heads up on this, Paul. We are indeed planning a lecture this year as part of the Katherine Swan Ginsburg program to feature the patient's voice: Dr. Tom Graboys will be giving a presentation in December based on his experiences after recently becoming a patient with Parkinson disease and dementia. I will look out for Dr. Morocco's work, and perhaps she could speak to us next year from this important perspective. Thanks again, Rafael