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Self-Portrait as a Hospital T.V. Drama Where I Play Every Role

By Suzanne Richardson

I am a cardiac arrest and I am a surgeon reaching, plunging, into the depths of my heart and asking it to do more work, watching my blood pressure bottom out, and locating the bleeding, I am performing surgery on myself, clutching a ten blade I cut into my chest, calling out as my heart stops I roll out the defibrillator cart to revive myself, I am not revivable, I die as I scream out my death in military time, I put my fingers to my ventricles, mop up my blood in silence, I am my own hardest case; I am my miracle; I am demoted for poor technique and then win a prestigious medical award, I am fired and then go hiking in winter on a snowy mountain, I fall off a cliff, and rescue myself, I helicopter down and air-lift my own hypothermic broken body out of the forest and turn to myself and say, “We still have a pulse,” and I cry and I am fucking myself in the on-call room, I am lifting my scrubs, throwing myself against a wall, thrashing my tongue against my tongue; if I break something, I am there to splint it, if I am diagnosed, I am reading the charts, I am a cancer-riddled patient and the only doctor that can see my rare cancer, I am getting coffee for myself, and I am avoiding myself in the hallway, I am driving the ambulance and I am the accident I arrive at, I am quiet but determined to give birth to myself, there to catch me, is me, on the OBGYN floor and I am the old, but tough, but fair, doctor and the young, unreasonable, cavalier doctor who puts myself at risk and I am the brand new innovative doctor, with techniques never before seen and I am the doctor who refuses to try anything new and I am in the cafeteria pushing peas around on a plate when I see myself for the first time and I am an intern and do not know much, but I am about to learn, about to learn how I really am the only person who can break me, sick me, cancer me, kill me, open me, teach me, explore me, save me, heal me, cut into me, my truth.

Suzanne Richardson (M.F.A. from UNM) currently lives in Binghamton, New York where she's a Ph.D. student in creative writing at SUNY Binghamton; she is the writer of Three Things @nocontactmag and more about Suzanne and her writing can be found here: here: @oozannesay.

Art by Jamie Santos.


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