Monday, March 26, 2007

The ED Sonnets: Room 7

“We’re here on holiday.” The husband’s wan.
They’re Swedish, twenty-five-ish, tall and fair;
he sits beside the bed and strokes her hair.
“We’d just learned I was pregnant: now it’s gone,
the baby.” She seems calmer than her mate,
although that may be shock. “It’s very sad:
so strange to lose this child we barely had.”
Her voice is dreamy, slurred: they’ve medicat-
ed her for pain, no doubt. “We’ll try again,”
her husband says. She reaches up to kiss
his hand. I tell them, “Recognize your grief
and honor it: make room for mourning when
you feel the need. Some people will dismiss
this loss. It’s real, despite their disbelief.”


  1. I think you should teach a class on How To Say The Right Thing. My training prepared me for all the clinical aspects of the job, and we did have a few good classes on death notifications and how to deal with family during resuscitations, but there wasn't a lot of instruction on what to say in the less critical situations. On what to say when people are sick and hurting, beyond, "We're taking good care of you."

    Any recommendations for good books to read?

    (It's not that I feel BAD at talking to people so much as I feel that I could be a lot BETTER.)

  2. pdx -- Thank you! In many situations, I could be a lot better, too; it's a constant learning process.

    I can't think of books, no, although I'm sure there are some; most of what I've learned has come either from talking to people who've gone through the experiences or, believe it or not, from the Internet. There are a lot of excellent websites devoted to grief, loss, and chronic illness.

    In the case of miscarriage and stillbirth, I found the many "Top Ten Things NOT to Say to Grieving Parents" lists extremely useful. But I also got to eavesdrop once on a chaplain who'd had a miscarriage herself and was talking to a woman who'd just had one, and that certainly helped!

  3. That's so sad. You did a great job helping them. I hope they had tons of support when they got home to help heal further. Bet they never want to visit the states again, too many memories.



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