Healthcare Settings – Maria Chow

What does that really mean
The physical mental social
And not merely the absence of disease
And not merely the absence of infirmities
But in this environment
Where the mentally challenged are seen as weak
Where it’s easier to hide our vulnerabilities

Because that’s what we were taught
To repress our thoughts
To live problem-free
Or at least appear problem-free

We encourage patients to exercise
But look at our diets
Look at our diets

If health is wealth
Then many of us are poor
But we continue to ignore
is an issue

We’re taught empathy
And at the same time to not take things so personally
The personal crosses dangerous boundaries
So we depersonalize
We desensitize

We detach ourselves from the crowd
Outside longing for somebody to notice their pain
And the reminder calls begin to sound the same
Like customer service looped tapes
“Hi this is Maria from the Over 60 Health Center, How may I help you?
Your appointment’s at 2
Your appointment’s at 8
Have a good day!”

Next! The medical assistant calls
There goes the patient treatment assembly line
One pill here, one pill there.

And this goes on every 15 minutes
And this goes on every day

They open their doors to those
With gold and silver
But if he can’t afford health
They don’t deliver

If every human life has equal value
Why does the term, “pediatrics,” ring bells
But the word, “geriatrics,” sing silence
If every human life has equal value
Why are some still at the sidelines?

And to be healed
How long must we wait?
And to be healed
Are pills the only way?

Health isn’t just bandaging a paper cut
Or casting a broken arm
It’s also about mending spirits

And sending “Are you okay?” messages
To those that need to hear it
And health doesn’t merely happen in clinics
With doctors and stethoscopes
And formal white coats

Health happens in our homes
A place to feel warm and safe
to return to at the end of our days
Health happens in schools
When the 6th grader gets ready for PE
and when the 5th grader finally stands up to his bully
Health happens when we’re outdoors
Inhaling fresh air (inhale)
and exhaling despair (exhale)
Health happens at the grocery stores
Will it be carrot sticks on aisle one?
or corn chips on aisle four?

So if you tell me that health happens in a 10×10 exam room
I’d say, “Well – homes, parks, and schools…”
These are healthcare settings too
These are healthcare settings too

Maria Chow
Maria double majored in Rhetoric and Social Welfare at UC Berkeley. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with nature, playing badminton, and eating string cheese. Of course, all of these are better with friends and family.

MUNI Passenger
Jhon Terrado

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