Skip Navigation LinksHome > October 2013 - Volume 119 - Issue 4 > The Anesthesiologist Breathes for You
doi: 10.1097/ALN.0b013e318278c79f
Education: Mind to Mind

The Anesthesiologist Breathes for You

Shafer, Audrey M.D.*

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I say: fill your lungs
take a deep breath
I breathe deeply too
perhaps less to demonstrate
than to participate, to enter in
Good–nice deep breath
the words billow–
I push medicines into your iv tubing
and squeeze the long oval balloon
how tenderly your chest rises
just there below your clavicles
I tape your eyelids closed and
listen, between your ribs
then to the song of the bellows
The surgeon chisels at the little window of you
a square of burnt sienna framed by a fake blue sea –
the oxygen of your pulse ticks, marks me in your time
clocks the myriad motions and measures I make
as the surgeon burrows and scrapes
At the end, I pull off the eyetape and on the tape
curves a faint smile of eyelashes
free for the briefest moment from worry
Now it’s time for you to re-enter –
leaning over the crown of your head, upside down above your face
I command: open your eyes
then smile behind my mask
because, like the magic of spring trees blossoming
your eyelids flutter, you breathe without my asking
you push open the gate
and you’re back.

© 2013 American Society of Anesthesiologists, Inc.

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