A white lined paper,
holes and date on the top,
vital signs and temperature, blood pressure
Is my name there? 
Do you know who I am?
Am I more to you than a diagnosis,
a number, a list of medications?
Can you look at me, think of me, as
A person?  A human being?
More than a file three inches thick?
Who am I to you? 
What am I to you?
Do you remember me tonight, 
After you have hung your white coat
and signed out on your time sheet?
Do you ever think of me when you are home,
when my parents are pacing the hall,
when my breathing is labored and
my temperature is rising?
Your pager sounds at 3 a.m. 
Does it ever occur to you that
It might be me?
But then again,
Who am I to you?

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Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor of Nursing, Lehman College, CUNY
Bronx, New York 10468

 Last updated: November 14, 2004