he has a good heart


it is his fourth
battery of tests
in less than a year,
there is no comfort in that.

they do not make eye contact
when we check in,
there is no comfort in that.

we are directed to go
across the hall
to sit and wait
in the waiting room
with taupe walls
and taupe baseboards
and taupe carpet.
with signs taped
to the wall
ordering us
to turn off cell phones
and demanding that we
ring the bell
only once.
there is no comfort in that.

we were not told
before our arrival
about all of the tests
to be run today.
that is not good
to hear,
but maybe,
just maybe,
not knowing
prevented much
anticipatory stress.

other patients
come and go
without so much as a
grunt about why he
is Back There
for hours
and hours.
there is no comfort in that.

finally the tests are done
and we are directed
to go to another waiting room.
this one as cold
as the other was
we wait
and we wait
and we wait,
more than
one-and-a-half hours
after the
appointment time
we’d agreed on
some eight months ago,
we wait.
there is no comfort in that.

we are escorted to
a taupe
exam room,
adorned with
a poster of a sailboat
in a cheap frame.
where the assistant
looks over his records
and seems quite
to hear that
his medications
changed over
six months ago.
there is no comfort in that.

we are told
that he passed
all the tests –
every single one of them –
with flying colors.
blood pressure: excellent.
blood flow: excellent.
overall circulatory system: excellent.
and there’s great, huge,
comfort in that.


  1. Sarah

    Thank goodness. Hard hard day. Joyful night.

    • whollyjeanne

      Sarah, I’ve said it before, and I’m saying it again: I love landing in your words because it’s always a soft, soothing landing. And you are so right: hard day, joyful (and tired) night.

  2. Kathy Loh

    YAY for you and ugh for the system. Impersonal is not at all healing. hugs

    • whollyjeanne

      I couldn’t agree more, Kathy. I’m old school where healing is inherent in medicine and comfort is inherent in remedy and treatment. There was nothing in today’s spin through the medical pinball machine that smacked of healing or comfort, though I certainly can’t and won’t argue with the results. Thank you for the hugs. Always appreciated.

  3. Sharon

    This is reflective of my life lately – and there is no comfort in that other than to have hope that writings like this will find passage into the hands of the health care providers and they start to see that healing begins with the first smile.
    Thank you for sharing this. So happy to hear of the outcome, so sad to hear of the process.

    • whollyjeanne

      It’s such a tricky thing, isn’t it? Sure, we can vote with our feet and go find another doctor, but that’s exhausting, and discomforting in and of itself. There’s this lingering God = Deity-to-end-all-Deities mindset, at least around here, and people are afraid to be anything other than unbelievably (and in my opinion, unreasonably) pleasant and accepting for fear of, well you know. My goodness how I would love to train doctors and their staffs. How I would love to train, support, and encourage those in need of doctors and their staffs. Your last sentence says it all: so happy for the outcome; so sad for the process. Yes, exactly. Thank you for understanding.

  4. Emily

    Oh, Jeanne, I feel this more than I’d like to.  I go through this each time I get a new doctor (at both the clinic, where they revolve every year as they graduate, and at the specialists’ offices).  Unfortunately, I think I gave up hope a couple of years ago that I would find any personalized care or healing.  I wish that doctors and hospitals (and those in charge of the “space”) knew how much environment can lead to healing or lack thereof.  SO glad to hear that his tests are good- I’m guessing that may have more to do with YOU than much else;)

    • whollyjeanne

      Emily, I’m so sorry that you know about this. It’s a downright shame that care and healing are no longer an inherent part of the medical community, isn’t it? I wish they knew these things, too. As I (repeatedly) tell my relatives who are physicians, “You may have a degree in medicine, but you received an incomplete education.” Oh what a disservice medical school does us all.

  5. Meredith

    I’m glad he does. Having that peace of mind about your loved ones brings a special kind of joy.

    • whollyjeanne

      You are oh-so right, Meredith. Peace of mind brings a special kind of joy. Well said.

  6. emma

    Yay! Throwing virtual pom-poms into the mix!! xoxo

  7. Anonymous

    God, you so nailed the general awfulness of going to the doctor/hospital. SO Glad for the good news — congrats! 🙂

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