Poetry at the Bedside

I unexpectedly quoted poetry by Robert Frost to my patient and his family today, and they loved it. It was perfect for the shared decision-making discussion regarding two main types of blood thinners for the patient’s abnormal heart rhythm and how various people decide which path they would like to take:

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,...”

I didn’t quote the rest of the poem, but here it is:

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

photo credit www.ahrq.com

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