THE VIAL looks like any other, except for the warning

Above and below the cap. It reminds me that this is

A paralyzing agent. I settle the mask

On the bridge of the nose, asking

Impatiently for deep breaths, imploring denitrogenation, which seems

To take forever. Finally, propofol, a burning issue lingers as the eyelids

Make their gentle descent. Reflexes gone. What will I see? It's not too

Late to “awaken patient” per the Difficult Airway Algorithm. I tighten

The valve and squeeze, hoping the lungs will reciprocate. The chest rises,

A plateau over the horizon, a white blanket of snow. Now is the moment

To which I have been entrusted, a sacred and unspoken promise to care

With all of my mind, and all of my heart. The ruby red–labeled syringe,

The bridge not to be burned. For the patient, the Rubicon, now crossing.