‘When Will I Learn?’ A Poem

Brittany Foster avatar

by Brittany Foster |

Share this article:

Share article via email

“When Will I Learn?” is a poem I wrote to express my feelings about my own denial over my medical condition.

In it, I write about what I have gone through medically as a result of my own denial. Toward the end, I move to what “I am starting to learn.” I am now working on learning to accept my condition, my limitations, and my “new normal.” As you can see, I am a work in progress. But isn’t everyone?


When will I learn?

Just how serious it is when my oxygen levels are low

I get feelings of being invincible, like I can handle every blow.

When will I learn?

To always remember to take another tank for back-up

So I don’t run out of oxygen and blame it on bad luck

When will I learn?

To listen to my body’s warning signs

Sometimes I ignore it all. Am I losing my mind?

When will I learn?

When my head feels heavy and my body feels exhausted beyond belief

I convince myself it will all go away, is this just part of grief?

When will I learn?

When my levels are low and I end up collapsed in the hall

I sometimes tell myself it was just a little fall

When will I learn?

My own denial left me in a rehab

Trying to gain strength on one side of my body and I say it “wasn’t that bad”

When will I learn?

Deep down inside I know exactly what is the right thing to do

But I use my own breath to ride bikes, walk around, and swim in the pool

When will I learn?

When my legs, ankles, feet and hands are swollen and large

Put the oxygen in your nose Britt, it’s time to take charge

When will I learn?

“I don’t need it” I tell myself even though it’s a lie

“It’s all in your head, you will be just fine”

When will I learn?

I hear from the doctor “by not wearing it you are making it worse and causing your heart stress”

“You want to live the longest life possible” I suddenly feel like this is all a test

When will I learn?

Do I listen to the doctor or do I still fight against it?

Without it, my body swells and my heart rhythm takes a serious hit

I’m starting to learn

All the ways I feel better when I actually listen to what they say

Differences in energy levels that help me through the day

I’m starting to learn

Hypoxia and pulmonary hypertension aren’t diagnoses my doctor would randomly give

I have to be better at wearing my oxygen if I truly want to live

I’m starting to learn

When a doctor gives medical guidelines I can’t pick and choose which advice to take

Treating my body poorly means that I’m putting my life at stake

I’m starting to learn

My life is a lot more valuable than I give myself credit for

It tries to do so much for me every day, so why do I treat it so poor?

I’m starting to learn

Some days my fear gets in the way and I fully deny

Even though some days I’m not okay, I convince myself otherwise

I’m starting to learn

Ignoring my body is just simply not okay

All of this denial will just make it worse, it won’t make it go away.

I’m starting to learn

Whether my condition limits my life or not

Accepting it for what it is, is a good place to start


Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.


Leave a comment

Fill in the required fields to post. Your email address will not be published.