‘After Heart Surgery’: A Survivor’s Account in March’s ‘Art of Nursing’

by Sylvia Foley, AJN senior editor

Heartstudy by James P. Wells, via Flickr

“I am grateful for the two hours my heart / stopped,”  says the narrator of  “After Heart Surgery.” It’s an incredible, heart-stopping line.  The voice is that of someone who has literally returned from the dead. He tells the tale with lively wonder, pledging  “allegiance to each leaflet of my bicuspid valve.” And yet as he lies in the bed, “eyes open,” attending carefully to his own heartbeat, we sense his lingering fear, too.

Poet Richard Waring doesn’t flinch from difficult subjects and offers them to us with rare clarity. In an earlier poem,Oboe,” Waring wrote of a boy’s time on a locked ward and how music helped him find “the grammar of a new survival.” (For either poem, click on the link and then open the PDF.) Waring is also a senior layout artist at the New England Journal of Medicine; his poems have appeared in venues as varied as Chest and The Boston Globe. We’re honored to have his work in our pages.

If you’re a poet or a visual artist, we hope you’ll consider submitting to Art of Nursing. Read this blog post for details. Guidelines can be found here. Still have questions? Write to the Art of Nursing coordinator (me) at sylvia.foley@wolterskluwer.com.

Bookmark and Share

2016-11-21T13:18:35+00:00 March 26th, 2010|Nursing|0 Comments

About the Author:

Former senior editor at AJN.

Comments are moderated before approval, but always welcome.