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Dr. Ali Hemdan: Raw Poetry, From The Front Lines

Dr. Ali Hemdan is a pulmonary physician in Meriden. Since 2010 he has lived in Westport with his wife, Dr. Ingi Soliman, and their children. The other day, he wrote a very moving account of what it’s like on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

Thank you, Dr. Hemdan, for sharing this. Thank you too, for all you do for all of us.

I have seen the flesh of the face swell and open. Black, white, yellow and brown. Looks different but I am sure it feels the same, old anguish pain!

I saw the virus decimate the body. 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 years old. Risk felt different before the plague hit but once the organs fail, it is the same rapid dreadful unavoidable collapse.

Dr. Ali Hemdan

I have spoken to the families. Husband, wife, daughter, son, nephew, niece, father, mother, grandson, granddaughter. Different lineage in the family tree. Roots, branches and leaves. But same heart aching panic for loved ones they can’t see.

I have worked with the team. Nurses, executives, doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, janitors, secretaries, security guards, first responders and nurses’ aides. Different roles but all putting their best face to cover the same cracking back under the weight of the responsibility cross we all cannot alone bear.

I have felt the same hope and saw it crumble

I have faked the same invincibility and saw it betray me leaving me exposed

I have shaken the same despair just to see it seeping through the cracking of my fleeting sense of safety in the midst of my family

I am not a hero

I am just a man

A few seconds of cosmic time ago I was just a child looking for comfort, looking for a haven

A long time ago I promised myself not to shy away from inconvenient truths or uncomfortable realities

Now I want no reality and I want no truth

Lie to me and tell me this is a bad dream

A sick finale to a horror movie written by a disturbed psychopath

Lie to me and I give you my word that I will not find holes in your lies or joke about your need for the spell

Bring out your magic wand

Bring out you your blessed sword

Bring out your crystal ball

Bring out your prayers and your healing sermons

Bring out your medicine man and his cure

But wait

Better

Extend your hand and reach out to me

Open your soul and sing with me

Let us drum and string

Let us whistle and hum

Let us dance and jump

Let us unite in the darkness of the unknown

Let us be one even if it is for a little while

A fleeting moment of love toward one another

For once the danger doesn’t discriminate

The pain

The collapse

The panic

The responsibility

The hope

The despair

The ultimate equalizer has come to hold the mirror so we can see ourselves

Naked, frightened and together alone.

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