Fairy Tales

I have yet to meet a 30-year-old woman
with stiff, aching joints
and a butterfly rash on her face.
She is just a fairy tale character
in the panoply of medicine.
I’d like to meet the 16-year-old girl
with the webbed neck,
and no menses
or the 25-year-old woman from Japan
without a pulse.
I hope I’m on call
when the 50-year-old pig farmer from Mexico
comes to the emergency department with seizures,
or was it the 50-year-old rancher from Argentina
with difficulty breathing
and weeping, tumid feet?
I think I’ll be ready
when the sweet grandmother arrives
with a headache and jaw pain,
or when a worried mother
shows me her languid five-year-old’s strawberry tongue
and peeling hands.
But today all my patients have back pain,
and the only thing that helps is Percocet.

An internal medicine resident at the University of Utah and will be joining their hospitalist group in the summer of 2017. He lives in Salt Lake City with his wife and two children.