Of A Healer: Julie

She’s on her way out, the docs just told us,” she said, tears filling her eyes.

I reached over and placed a hand on her shoulder, sharing the look, sharing the fear.

“I-, I don’t know how long she’s going to be with us, but I know she would appreciate a visit from you,” she said with a sniff and knowing smile, “you are Julie’s favorite.”

I nodded and gave her what I hoped was a strong smile.

“You both have been my favorite patients to care for,” I said with a pause, “Well not you, you’re her sister.”

She chuckled, a rich and warm sound, as we stood in the bustling hallway.

Behind us elevators dinged open on different floors, hospital staff talking to one another, and family members passing by. Behind us, framed in a wide bank of windows, the sun was setting over the city, catching the summer pollution and igniting the sky. Milliseconds passed by, but they might have well been years.

“I’ll go visit, don’t worry,” I whispered as we pulled each other in a tight embrace.

“She’ll want to hear you,” she breathed in my ear.

We parted, knowing that we would never see one another again. Tears fell from her face onto the ground. And all I could do was nod my head, so I did.

I walked away.

Hitting the entrance button to the Intensive Care Unit I walked quietly down the hall, glancing briefly into each room I passed. Seeing a familiar name on the outside of a room I paused to take a breath.

Inside machinery whirred and lights blinked on and off. Julie lay on the hospital bed, a small form almost engulfed in blankets and pillows. Her eyes were closed. Dark lashes laid on iridescent skin. Purple shadows law below each closed lid and there was a hollowness to her face.

A breathing tube traveled from the bulky ventilator machine down into her mouth, giving a mechanical movement to Julie’s chest. She was beautiful, broken, yet beautiful.

I stepped close to her bedside, taking hold of a hand that was warm to the touch. They law across her stomach, as if she were expecting a visitor any minute, as if she were waiting for me.

“Julie,” I said, placing my head close to her ear, “I’m here.”

There was no motion in her body, except for the rhythmic fall of her chest. I looked at her face. Only days before had there been a wide smile on her lips and a joke waiting to spring up. She had been full of zeal.

“Spit and vinegar,” is what she would have said. But now she was here, waiting.

“I just came by to tell you hi,” I paused, trying to control the rising emotions, “and I wanted to tell you something. You should know I’m a big baby when it comes to these things, saying good bye.”

I sniffed, feeling tears trickle down my face, “I always cry, no matter what.”

My tears fell down onto her blanket, wetting the fabric.

“I just want you to know that you are incredible. You’ve left an impression on me and I can’t thank you enough.”

I ran a hand across my nose and then looked for a tissue. Finding one I grabbed it and pulled my emotions under control.

“Julie, thank you for letting me care for you,” I said, giving her forehead a gentle kiss, “good bye, my friend.”

-M.E. InkOwl

Of A Healer: A Touch

“I tucked a warm blanket between these two and the top sheet, so it should be a bit more warm for you,” I said, placing the neatly stacked linens on the edge of the couch.

“Thank you,” said the family member, their eyes burning into the patient laying asleep in bed. I didn’t know their name, they didn’t know mine. I probably wasn’t even on the same planet as them, but something kept me from moving away.

“Can I get you anything else?” I tried, asking myself why I was still there.

The family member stirred, as if coming out of their own dead sleep. They turned to me with a flat look.

“What? Oh, no that should be it. Thank you.”

I didn’t move, still hearing a voice repeat, stay.

“We’re here if you need anything,” I said reaching out to them. As my fingers brushed against the family member’s shoulder they crumpled.

“I just don’t know what we’re going to do,” they sobbed.

-M.E. InkOwl

Of A Healer: From The Outside

Sunlight blazed into existence as I stepped from the carefully controlled climate of the hospital. It was mid July and the days were hitting mid 90’s.

“See you next week,” someone called a coworker as they walked towards a waiting shuttle.

I waved and walked down the sloping lawn towards my won bus stop beyond the main parking structure. Behind me my hospital stood, perched upon the edge of a mountain. Blue-green glass windows gleamed in the late afternoon sun.

Glad I don’t have to come back to you for a few more days” I thought with a smile. The sun felt so good on my skin, warming the ache of a day spent in a cold, sterile environment.

I paused for a moment, taking in the main hospital, and beyond it my sprawling city. It was a beautiful moment.

Taking a turn past the emergency department, I found myself walking down the ambulance ramp that lead straight to the ER. My eye naturally began to follow the staggered windows of the medical ICU unit on the second floor.

It was almost too hard to look at the windows as they shifted the suns rays into my face. Temporarily blinded I stopped and blinked for a few moments.

A swift movement caught my eye and I started forward, suddenly curious. There were forms moving by a shadowed window.

Me being on the ambulance ramp I found myself at eye level with the window, which turned out to be another ICU room.

As I watched the movement in the room I found myself momentarily dumbfounded. There before me was a scene I’ll not soon forget.

A team of four nurses stood over an occupied bed. One of the four knelt on top of the bed, rhythmically pushing on the patient’s chest. Eyes widening I watched as someone moves a crash cart into view, and then a third person placed a rebreather mask over the patient’s face.

“Their coding him,” I said to no one but myself. I was exhausted from the day but enraptured watched the familiar dance of CPR play out before my eyes.

My body immediately went into a fight or flight response as I felt my heart rate climb, thundering in my ears. The sun lost its shine for those moments I stood transfixed, staring out at the four people stepping between life and death.

I was there, feeling the patient’s chest move under my hands, feeling ribs pop and chest recoil under my hands.

Yet I wasn’t there, standing beyond the glass, a stranger separated by what seemed an entire world.

Emotions moved deep within my body as I watched nurses switch out. I felt their fatigue, their anxiety, and stress.

But then a distant honk up the ramp reminded me of where I was and the spell was broken.

Glancing back at the I noticed the curtain was pulled shut.

I shook my head and continued following the familiar steps towards home.

-M.E. InkOwl

Roaming- Michael Erickson

Had a poem featured on GoDogGoCafe today! As always this website is a wonderful place to visit. Check it out!

Go Dog Go Café

Photo by Michael Erickson

My soul has gone a-roaming, far and wide.

It was born away by foaming crests of unfamiliar sorrow.

Because it was I who had seen what ear could not hear, nor mouth could speak.

A lone form huddled by a bedside.

With angular face and black threaded hair,

You stranger laid the deepest part of your bosom bare.

Tears streamed from a face filled with cataclysmic thoughts as you encircled your love in a comforting embrace.

I beheld your doubt as it rolled off your nose, and pooled at the side of your beloved.

Now I’ll never be rid of that scene in my head for you held him so close with a fear justified,

But with hope sincere, and a love deeply divine.

Such things are not taught in classrooms and books, these things can only come where one chooses to look,

Now I take…

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Slowing Down

For all you who are following this blog, The Ink Owl will be slowing down its posts for this next year. I’m planning on doing four posts a month so that I can focus on larger writing projects that need my attention.

I’m excited to briefly mention that I was able to pitch a story that has caught the eye of a potential publisher! Now I need to devote as much time and attention to this story as I possibly can.

So forgive the absence and please continue to follow, at a slower pace. As always you can check out more of my writing on GoDogGoCafe. I look forward to one day soon share this exciting new experience!

Thank you all for your comments and support! This blog has become quite a special place because of your encouragement.

Now to put my pen to paper!

-M.E. InkOwl

Of A Healer: Day One

“Okay, okay. I’ve got this. I’ve totally got this,” I said under my breath as I checked the cart behind me. An assortment of movies, magazines, and puzzle booklets stared back at me as I stood before the closed door reading: 001.

What on earth did you get yourself into? my mind screamed, smelling that cloying sterilized hospital smell I had seen fit to avoid my entire life.

It was my first day in the hospital as a volunteer. I had been to multiple outpatient clinics where everyone was so cheerful. It was like we were on a giant ocean liner on a world tour through every body of water large enough to fit us. Patients and staff all around me were incredibly pleasant as I handed out cookies, water bottles, and granola bars. I was voluntarily standing in a hospital with a cart full of snacks ready to roll through a couple of inpatient units. Me. Who got sick to my stomach just at the mention of the medical field.

And now there I was, waiting to open the door.

Just take a deep breath and jump in, I said to myself. I took a deep breath, puffing out my chest I straightened my back and pulled open the door.

“Hi!” I said as perky and cheerful as a jay-bird in the morning to the first face that greeted me, “I’m with volunteer services!”

As I spoke I stepped further into the dim room. Curtains had been pulled over windows, and the silhouettes of a half dozen people came into view. Sound seemed to be dampened by an invisible wall just beyond the door.

“Can . . . I . . . Get . . . you . . .” My mouth continued to move, forcing out the words as my brain processed what was happening in front of me.

” . . . Snacks?”

There in the middle of the room lay the crumpled form a person. Someone clutched at their hand crying, the rest just stared at me, glowing with ambient light from the hallway.

It was then that I realized the patient had passed.

I didn’t know what to do.

“I-I-I, umm I-I-I-,” I said as words completely failed me.

They just stared on, light glinting from watery eyes.

With a slight bow to the group, and some awkward words I backed out of the room and carefully shut the door. One thought screamed in my head as I watched other people walk by me eyeing me curiously:

I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t do this.

-M.E. InkOwl

Of A Healer is a personal series of stories from my experience in the wide world of healthcare. These tales are meant to entertain and provoke thought. In no way am I looking for a pitying eye, or woe is me comments. I want to highlight some of the many psychological experiences that healthcare employees experience on a daily basis. As with everything in life, there is always more to something when we take the time to learn.

A Song With Many Voices: All the Lonely People

Excited to share this collaborative poem on mental I was able to be a part of! What an incredible and insightful experience.

Blood Into Ink


I have always been here, among the lonely people. Despite having people around me, my battles exist within my head and body. To you, I may look normal, but on the inside is a scene entirely different. My constant companions are sadness, frustration, exhaustion — even a fortified fortress to shield me from what the world has and could continue to do to me. Those walls isolate me from my family. The shadows are filled with creatures that know how to hurt me if I move too close. So, you see, I am one of the lonely people. But I am not alone.
Sarah Doughty)

All the Lonely People—

they converge,

invisible at intersections

of Life and Death,

strangely untouched by hands of those


How can it be that so many similar

do exist while lost

to one another?

All the Lonely People—

they are unalone, and yet

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March On The Ink Owl

Hello and welcome to March in the InkOwl.

This month I will be focusing my posts on selected excerpts from my personal experience as a Healthcare Assistant in a hospital setting.

I am excited and nervous to share these experiences as some come with a lot of emotions attached. There are some tender memories and some traumatizing events I’ll be sharing, so forgive me for any strong language or graphic episodes that are shared.

I’d like for this to be an opportunity to share the unique perspective I have with healthcare and also show a snippet of what experiences we healthcare workers have in this setting. So prepare yourself for a interesting month.

-M.E. InkOwl

Self-love: Love, A Process

“I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.”
― Brené Brown

Brené Brown holds a masters of social work and is a research professor for the University of Huston. For more than fifteen years she has been studying topics such as courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. You can learn more about Brené Brown by visiting her website here. Here are links to more of her published works on Amazon.com:

Self-Love: Wolves Inside My Head


You’ll never finish this, you do realize this?

Why are you even trying?

There’s no way you’ll ever change yourself.

You’re worthless,


You’re broken.

I am not.

You’re a disgusting mess, an embarrassment.

I am loved.

Why do you still exist?

I am cared for.

I have worth beyond the darkness inside of me.

Who are you to tell me who I am?

I am strong.

I am loving.

I am kind.

I am whole.

I am more than you’ll ever know or be.

-M.E. InkOwl