Sickly

I feel like my body is rotting,

disintegrating into ash.

My blood is congealing and clotting.

My bones, like old wood, are too brash.

My organs are screaming for mercy.

They deal with the onslaught each day.

My trunk and my limbs grow more pursy,

until I won’t tell what I weigh.

The poison, I take for its blessing,

with fear of the fallout to come,

in hopes I can change my own dressing,

and find a foothold, though I’m numb.

When daylight will reach me next morning,

all progress I’ve made is reset.

Then, new horrors come without warning.

What hope I had found, I forget.

Condemned to repeat the disaster,

I wake up again out of spite.

Until fate has won, I’m still master

and choose not to give up this fight.

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Awkward

I haven’t been in public much the last decade or so,

my social interaction freezing in a lost tableau.

When I did get back out there, I was thinking of it wrong.

But I should know that nothing stays the same for quite that long.

Since I have lived with chronic illness, nothing is the same.

At times, I do not recognize this person I became.

The changes were involuntary, yet I can’t go back.

So, helplessly, I’ve seen my life careening off its track.

The Sick Me is so different than the Healthy Me had been,

which means I oft feel awkward, even here, in my own skin.

But being out in public is far worse than when alone.

When out there, I must live as though my woes are unbeknown.

Here, in my home, I don’t pretend that I am not in pain.

I don’t pretend my illnesses aren’t clouding up my brain.

In fact, I don’t pretend at all. That’s why I’m staying home,

and working out my feelings in another silly poem.

Awake

I don’t want to close my eyes and fall asleep tonight.

Nightmares come; I spend those hours prepared for fight or flight.

I can’t wake or take control, a victim through and through.

Fear and I match step in our horrendous pas de deux.

As I lay there, poised to dream, I try to focus thoughts.

I think of people I adore, and happy, pleasant plots.

Lately, it won’t work. I dream of danger, always scared,

fighting off some beast with which I’m violently ensnared.

It takes so damned long to shake the feelings nightmares leave.

Knowing they’re not real has always failed to bring reprieve.

So I stay up far too late, avoiding what I need.

Sleep comes with a price which I won’t easily concede.

Then I spend my days much more exhausted than I should,

straining my poor sanity and all that it’s withstood.

I perpetuate the cycle I’d most like to break.

And since it’s all the same, I think, tonight, I’ll stay awake.

A Longer Belt

I know I shouldn’t cry or boast.

This ain’t the worst I’ve ever felt …

but I keep getting diagnosed!

I think I need a longer belt.

I would just add another notch,

but I am out of room by now.

Diseases add up while I watch,

stark helplessness upon my brow.

It’s nothing deadly, that’s for sure.

But life goes on, and worse, I get.

Who knows what all I shall endure?

Not me. Things happen. I forget.

These tally marks are all I’ve got

to add up horrors, mounting still,

the next annoyance I have caught

that drains my hope and saps my will.

It is my life, so I’m engrossed …

I write down every symptom felt.

Lists help to get me diagnosed.

Lists prove I need a longer belt.

Rebel With A Cause

I woke up this morning and told Weakness to fuck off.

Time for some adventure, though I know I’ll pay the cost.

I’m not gonna listen when my body wants to quit.

I’m a damned good actress. And today, I’m playing “Fit.”

Push until my legs are leaden and my shoulders shake.

Push through shooting pain that comes with every step I take.

I’ll ignore The Urge To Stop and press on till the end,

sure I’ll miss in triplicate the energy I spend.

Focus on the atmosphere, not Physical Complaints.

I’ll do what they’ll do and I’ll not tolerate Restraints.

Come and get me later, Lactic Acid and Regret.

You will have me, true, but you may not come claim me yet.

Set up vigil, Sir Fatigue, and wait here if you must.

I am up and ready, and I feel downright robust!

All you bad guys go ahead and regroup while I’m gone.

But for now, no matter what, this bitch is moving on!

Don’t Ask

Don’t ask me how it’s going, for the truth is that it’s gone,

 a wholly unspectacular, prosaic denouement.

Don’t ask me how I’m doing. It’s a question that I dread.

I hate admitting how long I have lingered here, in bed.

Don’t ask me how I’m feeling, ’cause the answer is the same.

You’ll think I protest too much and dismiss what I declaim.

Don’t ask me how my day’s been so I won’t feel I should lie.

No man should have to fill his head with all that I decry.

Don’t ask me if I’m better. I so want to have good news.

Lacking it, my side of things, I heartily recuse.

Don’t ask me if it’s you who’s added pain to my distress.

If I have made you feel that way, I promise to redress.

Don’t ask me anything at all. Just hold me extra tight.

Being held by you is all that makes my life alright.

Fine

Yes, I looked fine when you saw me last week.

I looked as healthy as you,

dressed to the nines with my hair high and sleek,

dipping my bread in fondue.

I hadn’t left my own house in too long.

I had a friend do my hair.

The times that I go out are when I am strong.

It took three hours to prepare.

Yes, I looked fine at that wedding last year.

You even saw me go dance,

cutting the rug with my sweet engineer,

caught in our own lover’s trance.

By evening’s end, there were tears in my eyes.

Stabbing pain shot through my back.

I danced with my lover, however unwise.

I knew that I’d have an attack.

Yes, I looked fine at the mall back in June,

smiling and trying on shoes,

drinking my coffee and whistling a tune,

texting friends as I peruse.

I got a new diagnosis that day,

the lesser of two horrid ills.

Some browsing is what held my teardrops at bay,

far better than too many pills.

 You seem convinced that I’m doing just fine.

I’m a magician, my dear.

It’s misdirection, a talent of mine.

Not all things are as they appear.

Phoenix Rising

I’ll feel better next week when my medicine kicks in.

I’ll feel better once I get some rest.

I’ll feel better next week when my therapy begins.

I’ll feel better once I’m not this stressed.

I’ll feel better next week when my surgery is done.

I’ll feel better once I lose this weight.

I’ll feel better next week when the healing has begun.

‘I’ll feel better …’ words I overrate.

I’ll feel better next week if next week will ever come.

I’ll make up a reason if I must.

‘I’ll feel better next week,’ I will chant until I’m numb.

‘I’ll feel better …’ words I seldom trust.

I gave faulty reasons and the words had turned to ash,

dying in a fizzle of a flame.

Now the phoenix rises from a long-awaited flash,

carrying the banner of your name.

I’ll feel better next week, though my symptoms haven’t changed.

I’ll feel better though the worst’s not through.

I’ll feel better next week, for your visit’s been arranged.

I’ll feel better, for I’ll be with you.

Unsolicited

We all really hate when you give us advice.

It just undercuts our attempts made thus far.

We know that you think those suggestions are nice.

But bear in mind I earned each IV and scar.

You don’t know each treatment that I’ve ever tried.

Two decades have passed and I’ve been through it all.

It’s not just your words, it is what they’ve implied.

What’s lacking in wisdom, you make up with gall.

I’m so very glad things worked out for your aunt …

and yes, she had symptoms that sound just like mine.

Your grasp of my illness is naive and scant.

Your words are not helpful; they just undermine.

See, I don’t tell you how to do things at work.

So, don’t think you have any right to tell me,

’cause this IS my job, you magniloquent jerk,

as anyone ill as I am would agree!

The Verdict

I can’t say I’m surprised to get the news.

It falls in line with my unchosen course,

arriving just in time to disabuse

me of the hope that fate is not the source.

I pray that nothing changes for the worse

before I’ve time to take stock of my debts,

to pick out my own coffin and a hearse,

adorned with golden filigree vignettes.

Though … six good men can’t heft it, I’m afraid.

Regret and sorrow overload the joints,

disfiguring my final promenade

with spectacle that never disappoints.

A blaze of glory seems the better end,

the course of action I, myself, intend.

King For A Day

He’s the quiet kid who sits in the corner.

He’s the last one picked for the team.

No matter where he is, he’s the foreigner.

 He’s the King of Low Self-Esteem.

His single mom would be his only mourner,

and would pay dearly for his scheme.

Nothing he had said could possibly warn her,

his words not sounding too extreme.

Though she did her best, everyone will scorn her,

and honor, she’ll never redeem.

Still, she is most grateful he was born of her,

despite the fatal blasts and screams.

 

burden

the albatross approaches

it’s far past time to run

a burdened life encroaches

the worst has just begun

caught up in sickly deluge

and straining hard to breathe

no sweet relief or refuge

the sword you cannot sheathe

your best commitment sagging

resentment breeding hate

you find forgiveness lagging

no patience to abate

you want to see improvement

the journey long and hard

no vow of upward movement

both parties spent and scarred

your lover’s reprobation

upon your heart is seared

abhorrent confirmation

as bad as you had feared

there is no good solution

except for you to die

at last the devolution

his money couldn’t buy

 

“What Do You Have, Again?”

“So, what do you have, again?” he asks of me.

The “he” has been family for over 9 years.

What I have (again) will not, I guarantee,

be one of those things that one day disappears.

Please learn what it’s called, if you care for me yet.

It fills up each moment, asleep or awake.

Just say it enough that you’ll never forget

and show me I’m worth the half hour it’d take.

“And how do you spell that?” … like Google won’t know.

Just get sort of close and it fills in the rest.

Your ignorance, now, is a choice that you show

by asking instead of just trying your best.

“I guess there’s no cure then?” he asks with wink. 😉

Well, yeah, but I figure that’s cheating my fate. 😉

Your effort shouts louder than words what you think.

You speak sympathy your inaction negates.

We do this each Christmas, and sometimes in June.

We’ll do it next year and the year after that.

And each time he asks, I shall feed with a spoon,

just like the ten month old I once babysat.

 

Incubus

First slumber imparts disingenuous peace

as day fades away and I’m plunged into night.

Trance beckons a torrent of fright to release.

Sleep’s righteous new guardsmen invoke fight or flight.

My heartbeats make dents in attempts to break free;

their echoes clank like jagged rocks in tin cans.

Control leaks from pores, my legs deaf to my plea.

I waste too much time as foes execute plans.

‘They’ all want me dead and I’ve nowhere to go.

I’m scaling high fences and crawling in mud,

gauche ducking and rolling as daggers ‘they’ throw,

blades piercing my flesh and discharging its blood.

All safe houses dangerous, floors turn to dust,

air jilting my feet as they scramble to grip.

Huge flakes of sunned freckles chip off like old rust.

I bolt for the door, but on dead skin, I trip.

Disguise my last hope, I spot wigs and a cap,

their blackness such contrast that soon I can hide.

Once on, they turn orange, their betrayal a slap.

They flaunt my location. Concealment denied.

Half-conscious, I’m twisting, adjusting my sheets,

one slice of me screaming ‘wake up or you’ll die,’

unable to rouse till the horror completes,

my will to resist ‘them’ in dwindling supply.

I prostrate myself, left no haven or choice,

submitting to torture and pain that results.

I howl at the dawn with what’s left of my voice,

reflecting back onto my soul those insults.

Awakening sweaty, I punch at my bed

and toss pillows high to unearth stowaways,

reluctantly grasping: they’re trapped in my head

alongside fixed squatters I scorn nowadays.

Sick, Not Dead

I am sick, not dead.

Remove the rails from ’round my bed.

I am sick, not three.

You must back off and let me be.

 I am sick, not weak.

So let me think and let me speak.

I am sick, not dumb.

Your meddling has made me numb.

I am sick, not nuts.

Your hovering consumes and cuts.

I am sick, not blind.

I’ve listened; please repay in kind.

I am sick, not wrong.

If you would look, you’d see I’m strong.

I am sick, not slow.

Don’t trap me or I’ll pack and go.

I am sick, not lost.

So keep it up, and pay the cost …

for I am sick, not dead.

Don’t make me run away instead.

–for Mya–

I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Major Side Effect

I am the very model of a modern major side effect.

I bring you many problems that could give your children birth defects.

I interfere with how the neural pathways in your brain connect.

I pile on top of other nasty health issues you now collect.

You don’t know if I’m symptoms of your illness or I’m indirect.

You’re worse than any time in recent history you recollect,

but need to take your medicine or your new organ you’ll reject …

so suffer through the problems that it’s caused that you cannot deflect.

If you don’t take meds everyday you’ll find you can’t get out of bed,

or possibly one day you’ll wake to find out you’re already dead!

In short, you’re feeling much worse than the last time that your doctor checked.

I am the very model of a modern major side effect.

There’s aches and pains, a bleeding stomach, restless legs that make you cry,

edema, headaches, rashes, weird behavior, or your eyes are dry,

strong allergies that make the muscles quiver in your upper thigh.

If you don’t swallow quickly it tastes like you have ingested lye.

You know if you don’t take it you have health on which you can’t rely.

Sometimes it’s so bad you decide today you will not even try.

You take the drugs but often when it’s bad, you cannot figure why …

with all these side effects, to medicine you’d like to say goodbye.

You hope that someday you’ll be well so you no longer feel this sick.

But once you discontinue your bad health returns so lightening quick!

In short, you’re feeling much worse than the last time that your doctor checked.

I am the very model of a modern major side effect.

Sometimes I cancel out the benefits, but you’ll put up with me.

You hear a buzzing in your ears that sounds just like a bumblebee.

To keep from falling down you’ll tolerate the shaking of your knee.

You’ll live with some results that mimic thrush or hepatitis B.

You pay a lot to feel this way. Your medicine is never free.

You’re real depressed ’cause this might be the healthiest you’ll ever be.

Your doctor says you’re doing well, though sometimes you may disagree …

and anyone who had these side effects would, but of course, agree.

I give you hunger so you’ll break your diet and gain lots of weight.

Your mirror shows you images you look at and then start to hate.

In short, you are much fatter than last time that your doctor checked.

I am the very model of a modern major side effect.

 By now you have diseases that were caused by taking medicine.

It makes you feel just like you fight a battle you can never win.

You want to heal, but with your problems you don’t know where to begin.

You wonder why you’ve been struck down, like you’ve been punished for a sin.

The time rolls on. These days you’re not sure how long it has really been.

You curse the situations that your illnesses have put you in.

It never ends, the cycle goes on, stealing every urge to grin …

the smile you try to fake in public each day’s wearing very thin.

You wish you had a choice but you can’t stop your meds or you’ll expire.

You need these stupid chemicals. Your situation’s rather dire.

But still, you’re feeling much worse than the last time that your doctor checked.

I am the very model of a modern major side effect.

Lyrics ©2014 Bridget Ayres

Set to Gilbert & Sullivan’s “I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Major General”

–Public Domain–

Parallel

 I never said that I was more important than you are.

That’s just what your wild imagination chose to hear.

My explanations start, but you won’t let me get too far.

Please back off and let me talk. I’ll make my feelings clear.

I am no more special than another on this Earth.

That’s the first thing you should listen to and understand.

When it comes to others, I’d say I’ve an equal worth.

All I mean is that my trials and woes are just as grand.

With my plight dismissed I make a point to plead my case,

making it appear as though I think that I’m the best.

If I hadn’t had to struggle just to keep my place,

I’d remain here waiting for my turn, like all the rest.

Asking For Help

askingforhelp1

Asking for help can be harder than not,

because both cause a pain that is real.

I hate to admit this is all that I’ve got,

and that this is the best I might feel.

askingforhelp2

I’m a young woman and shouldn’t need help

since most strangers assume that I’m fine.

I feel like a dog squeezing out a sad yelp

’cause I realized this body’s now mine.

askingforhelp3

At once, overnight, I became old and weak,

so I didn’t have time to adjust.

Suddenly, I couldn’t chew food, see, or speak,

and into Sick’s midst I was thrust.

askingforhelp4

 A placard at 19: admitting defeat!!!

It’s a thing I was so loathe to do.

I’m now twice that age, and perspective, my seat,

as I look back on what I went through.

askingforhelp5

I so wish that back then, I’d let ego go.

I wish I’d not cared what they thought.

I wish I knew then what I’ve since come to know

and the truth that the future has brought.

askingforhelp8

It’s not a character flaw to be sickly.

It’s okay to ask for a hand.

I’ll get there eventually, slowly or quickly.

Who cares if the world understands?

askingforhelp6

Sometimes I’m weak and I need extra time,

and sometimes I park by the door.

Sometimes I can’t talk, and it’s not a crime,

and some days, just to eat, is a chore.

askingforhelp7

But here, from my seat, in this tower of age,

with the wisdom I’d hoped would shed light,

I see the intensity’s not been assuaged.

Still, to make myself ask, is a fight.

Sleep, How I’ve Missed Thee!

sleepy sheets

*picture courtesy of  weinstock on pixabay.com

When I’m in the hospital, I never get good sleep.

I am poked and prodded two to four times every hour.

That translates to me not having snoozing that is deep.

Changing this is not within my doctor’s awesome power.

It’s ironic, since I’m here to rest up and get healed;

one would think a different set of rules would be in place.

The creaking of the door ensures my eyeballs both are peeled,

 exhaustion evident upon my drained and weary face.

Nurses come and ask me if there’s something they can do.

I say, ‘What I’d most enjoy is being left alone.

I would like to sleep, if I could, for the whole night through,

sans machines who scream in that obnoxious, high-pitched tone.’

Yes, the nurses follow rules I know they didn’t write.

I know they do what they’ve been instructed that they must.

Still I long, when I’m this sick, to sleep through just one night.

My body would be shocked, but I’m quite sure it would adjust.

I’m grateful they look in on me and want to be of use.

But TLC is one more thing from which I’ll have to heal.

Two more days until my treatment’s done and I’m cut loose.

I’ll beg the doc to send me home, no matter how I feel.

I’ll draw the curtains, use earplugs, and crash until I’m done,

snoring loudly, dreaming, getting all the rest I can.

Slumbering till noon has passed is my idea of fun,

 holding hands and skipping with that marvelous Sandman.

 

 

Funkytown

haze-182966_640

Undoubtedly, I’m always in a funk,

existing in a neverending haze.

For years I’ve been accumulating junk,

the residue and scars from awful days.

I struggle to detach them from my life,

but still I am beholden to my past

emotional and health-related strife.

I helplessly obey. The die’s been cast.

Thus left with no escape, I organize,

identifying causes and effects.

I cannot win, so I must compromise

in hopes I’ll find the peace my health rejects.

Great callouses have formed and left me tough.

At times, I find they’re simply not enough.

*picture courtesy of Julianza on pixabay.com

The Best Plan We’ve Got

tile-214367_640

I received a sharp blow yesterday.

My insurance will no longer pay.

My nurse called to give me the news:

the right medicine, I cannot use.

My doctor tried all that he could.

The response to his pleas was no good.

“It is way too expensive,” they said,

“but if she’s in a hospital bed,

we’ll accept the claim, and we’ll pay.”

I’ve been told I must do it that way.

We all know it will cost them much more

when I’m jailed on the third or fourth floor.

 They’ll spend more than they would in a year

if they’d kept it from getting severe.

Yes, the medicine does cost a lot…

though in my case, it is all I’ve got,

’cause the others aren’t options for me.

They’re as bad as my illness could be.

All traditional treatments have failed.

In the end, illness always prevailed.

So, I must steer toward death and then flirt,

tempt disaster, risk my life, and hurt.

I must point straight and drive down that road

to encourage catastrophe, goad.

Once that sick, my life’s so tough to save.

It’s so hard to keep me from the grave.

And yet nobody asked what I thought.

I’m just told it’s the “best plan we’ve got.”

Hindsight Is 20/20

couple-158859_150*

If I’d worked my abs each day, I’d have a nice six-pack.

Instead, I tend to go ahead and fix myself a snack.

If I’d planted bulbs last fall, some flowers would have grown.

I waited far too long and now my chance for bulbs is blown.

If I’d planned my budget better, I would have those boots.

I just can’t seem to get my life and money in cahoots.

If I’d bothered setting up my cell phone warranty,

they’d replace my broken one entirely for free.

If I’d written down the passwords for all my accounts,

I would never write a check the bank would have to bounce.

If I got my head pulled out from so far up my ass,

I’d have stopped before we left and filled the car with gas.

If I’d checked my email I’d have seen the one from you.

I’d have read what you so kindly told me I should do.

It’s my own damned fault, which I wholeheartedly avow.

I plan to get my act together, if fate will allow.

I will make concerted efforts so I can improve.

I’ll try doing things of which I know you will approve.

Can I have some points for standing up and being brave?

 I’ve recently acknowledged your approval’s what I crave.

*picture courtesy of OpenClips on pixabay.com

Chronic Illness Blues

I’m trying to learn to use wordpress better and am admittedly computer-challenged. When I originally posted this, it wasn’t tagged.

rhymaphilia

Nowadays, we’re everywhere: sickies who look fine.

With a glance, it seems that there’s no reason we should whine.

But if the world could have a trial living in our shoes,

they would find, most certainly, they had the chronic blues.

Friends and loved ones try and try, but never understand

the challenges and energy our illnesses demand.

It’s because we look just fine. They cannot see what’s wrong.

Only test results can prove we’ve been sick all along.

It’s hard for us, who lead sick lives, to say we’re not depressed.

We know the hell will never end, “not terminal,” at best.

You can’t forget it, any day; you never get a break.

It goes on while you’re sleeping, it’s here when you’re awake.

Decades pass, the illness lasts, and yet we trudge on through.

People sometimes say, “You’re brave.” But what else can we do?

Illnesses and hospitals…

View original post 277 more words

Unicorn

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Growing up, I had the finest mother that could be.

She was full of love and gave the best of life to me.

She told me that she never lived within a happy world.

She said she’d been depressed since she was just a little girl.

I have a sister, one, and she is older than I am.

When we were still just kids, she’d scream and hit me. Wham! Bam! Bam!

All these long years later we discovered that she’s sick.

She’s bi-polar, and in finding anger, she is quick.

Then there is my father who’s a mean and nasty jerk.

Always getting fired, he could never keep his work.

After he got violent, Mom would finally get away.

When I have to see him now, I don’t know what to say.

My first love was jaded ’cause he’d been abused at home.

Neglected and mistreated, he’d been often left alone.

Try, though, as he did, a healthy viewpoint was not found,

even though I did my best to keep him smile-bound.

Two long years I dated, then, a man who in plain terms

was crazy ’nough to make the most outrageous nutball squirm.

I almost didn’t notice ’cause I guess that’s what I knew.

Admittedly…my outlook, from inception, was askew.

So it’s no surprise that, first, I married a young man

who battled with depression and a short attention span.

I wished I could be enough to make him happy. But…

I couldn’t and eventually, we both just gave up.

Then one day, a man appeared…a man who’d change it all.

Immediately, to his arms, I’d run and swoon and fall.

A well-adjusted unicorn pranced up to my plateau!!!

I had always wondered what it’d be like. Now I know.

How nice it is to have someone who’s not depressed, instead!

We fell hard, and soon the two of us were newlywed.

Afraid that I will spook him, I approach him with due care.

To take my past out on him is a move that isn’t fair.

I try to keep it reigned in so he’ll stay right here with me.

He says he’ll tough it out if I should lose my sanity.

I don’t want to lose it. But I know that if I did,

I would not be garbage of which he’d want to get rid.

But despite assurances, I still get scared sometimes.

So I write my fears out using goofy, verbose rhymes.

Thanks go to my unicorn, for saving me, once more.

He’s proven life exists outside depression’s haunting lore.

*photo courtesy of jes872148 on pixabay.com

The Waiting Game

waiting-room-277314_150*

When sitting in a waiting room, I dream.

It doesn’t matter what I’m waiting for.

I know that things are never as they seem,

that anyone could open up that door.

I hope that grand adventure waits beyond

and all I have to do is walk on through.

I wish that I had brought my magic wand

so I could go embark on something new.

But even if I just get on a scale

or have to see a person I dislike,

my wild imagination will not fail,

’cause everything makes inspiration strike!

While waiting, I imagine what could be.

My body’s sick. At least my mind is free.

*photo courtesy of TryJimmy on pixabay.com

Prednisone and I Have a Hate-Love Relationship

Infections, too much acid in your stomach and your throat,

oh yes, those steroids offer something for us all…

whether you are in the market for some nerve disease,

or you just want some bones to break with every fall.

Sleeplessness comes right away to those who have to swallow

lots of prednisone to keep themselves alive.

Your appetite is screaming and you want to eat up everything,

and then another two…or four…or five….

You will have some family members question why it is

you’ve turned yourself into a raving lunatic.

Scream out that you’re ragin’ ’cause you’re on the ‘roids you hate

and that you only do it ’cause you’re really sick.

Oops, you’re stomach’s bleeding, and you’re diabetic now…

so…those are just a few more bonuses you’ll get….

The person in the mirror’s face, enlarged and puffed and red:

she looks just like someone you never, ever met.

You could have some cataracts or dabble in glaucoma

and you may not have an age past twenty-two.

You really didn’t have a choice; you had to take this drug

because your doctor says that’s all that you can do.

So, a hump is living on your back and neck all day

and now you feel just like a camel or a freak.

Your distended abdomen has bloated up your trunk.

You watch your muscles become atrophied and weak.

And you may get hypertension or anemia,

random muscle problems or a slow heart beat.

You will build intolerances to all temperatures

until you cannot take the cold, nor take the heat.

Then there’s this annoying thing that happens where the

side effects can mirror all the symptoms that they “cure.”

So you keep on taking them ’cause you and doc lose track:

it’s disease, or side effects? None can be sure.

Sitting here today I know without the steroid doses

I have had to take to stay here on this Earth,

I’d have been a goner when I’d no more years than nineteen

from the day mine was a celebrated birth.

I could never list them all, the damages this drug can cause

while using it to maintain life and heal.

All that I can do as I throw back my daily dose

is move my fingers and write out the way I feel.

For Dr. Bradley

meadow-76358_640*

I’m not sure how many times my doctor’s saved my life.

I lost track the day it hit thirteen.

Time and time again, I’ve had to trust him with a knife.

Harder days my body’s never seen.

When I’m in his office he is always waiting there.

When I’m in the hospital, it’s rounds.

Often, he has stayed past eight administering care,

never having left the clinic grounds.

I can tell him anything and know he’ll trust my word,

something not all specialists concede.

’Cause I’m in his care, I feel that I can rest assured.

Of anyone, this man’s who can succeed.

I can tell him, “thank you,” till my face and tongue turn blue.

And he will say, “you’re welcome,” like he does.

An inkling of my gratitude…he’s only got a clue.

More intense respect there never was.

So how am I to take it when it’s he who gets so sick?

How can I endure his failing health?

Surely this is nature playing some ungodly trick

on a man who hasn’t time to spend his wealth.

It would seem, that of the two, the world is better set

having this man here, instead of me.

If one could, in lieu of him, pay off his deathly debt,

I would be the first to set him free.

*photo courtesy of Fotomanie on pixabay.com

Exercises In Futility

No position I can find will make it go away.

Nothing I can do will make it right.

I just have to watch the clock push hours into day…

through the long, excruciating night.

Sitting doesn’t help at all, nor does it to lie down.

Standing up is quite atrocious, too.

Walking is a bad idea, just like all the rest,

leaving me with nothing else to do.

Doubled over in a ball, I try to soothe myself,

huddled with a blanket ‘round my back.

Rocking to and fro’ I wonder, will it ever end?

Hoping till my brain and heart just…crack.

Should I, to the ER, go, and put myself in line?

I will have to stay and wait my turn.

Triage nurses don’t think I should get to skip ahead

when I don’t have a gunshot wound or burn.

When I get to see the doctor, he comes in resolved.

I know that he, first, made up his mind.

He’s decided I just want a source of heavy drugs,

sure he knows I’m of the addict-kind.

I can see it in the way he stands reviewing charts,

looking at the clipboard he brought in.

Glancing up and over just a bit from time to time.

Convincing him’s a battle I can’t win.

If I could count up the times I’ve tried to start anew,

I’d use all my fingers and my toes,

searching for the doctor who can conquer chronic pain,

one who doesn’t judge and presuppose.

One who doesn’t promise his procedure’s gonna work

before he’s grasped the level of my pain.

One who doesn’t send the message: it’s all in your head,

who treats me like I’ve simply gone insane.

Even on the days that I acknowledge are my best,

constant ache pervades my every breath.

Like sandpaper, coarse in grit, the pain rubs raw my soul,

leaving me romanticizing death.

Don’t Tell Me I’m Crazy

Don’t tell me I’m making it all up!

Don’t tell me that crazy’s how I seem!

Don’t tell me my symptoms don’t add up!

Don’t act like I just told you a dream!

No, I can’t locate the “source” of pain.

No, I didn’t hurt myself last night.

No, there’s not an allergy to blame.

No, don’t tell me everything’s alright.

Sigh. It’s not attention that I crave.

Sigh. I’d rather not be in a gown.

Sigh. It’s not that I just don’t behave.

Sigh. I don’t care you don’t like my frown.

Will you, once you know, apologize?

Will you tell me how you pegged me wrong?

Will you even try to empathize?

Will you say you’d guessed it all along?

See, my test results have proved my point?

See, I wasn’t making up a tale?

See, my blood and scans don’t disappoint?

See, it’s not my sanity that’s frail?

Maybe you should have yourself checked out.

Maybe you’re the one who’s lost his mind.

Maybe it’s your wisdom I should doubt.

Maybe you don’t understand my kind.

Where’d you go to get that nice degree?

Where’d you learn to treat a man that way?

Where’d you learn to let your mouth run free?

Where’d you learn the worst wrong things to say?

I think I want doctors who will trust.

I think your degree’s made you a snob.

I think I’ll move on, like we discussed.

I think you should find another job.

the infusion center

sitting in this room again

a needle in my chest

recliners neatly in a row

me stuck, like all the rest

magic liquid dripping in

to make my muscles strong

sitting in this room again

I know that I belong

sitting in this room again

we all have different woes

but we share a common thread

that only sick ones know

thrown in here by circumstance

we’re tethered to our poles

sitting in this room again

and setting healthy goals

sitting in this room again

our stories we compare

we comfort one another

it’s a safe place we can share

all our stories good and bad

there is no wrong or right

sitting in this room again

and putting up a fight

sitting in this room again

we share each other’s pain

we hug, console, and say a prayer

though it might be in vain

people in this room have caught

the short end of the stick

sitting in this room again

where we can all be sick

Chronic Illness Blues

Nowadays, we’re everywhere: sickies who look fine.

With a glance, it seems that there’s no reason we should whine.

But if the world could have a trial living in our shoes,

they would find, most certainly, they had the chronic blues.

Friends and loved ones try and try, but never understand

the challenges and energy our illnesses demand.

It’s because we look just fine. They cannot see what’s wrong.

Only test results can prove we’ve been sick all along.

It’s hard for us, who lead sick lives, to say we’re not depressed.

We know the hell will never end, “not terminal,” at best.

You can’t forget it, any day; you never get a break.

It goes on while you’re sleeping, it’s here when you’re awake.

Decades pass, the illness lasts, and yet we trudge on through.

People sometimes say, “You’re brave.” But what else can we do?

Illnesses and hospitals, insurance and blood,

urine samples, EKGs, and feeling, still, like crud…

plastic tubing, IV kits, patient charts and scrubs,

pumps and poles and stools on wheels, and purple, nitrile gloves,

pharmacies and sharps containers, clipboards, tape, gauze pads,

waiting rooms, referrals, too, and still you’re feeling bad…

ugly gowns they make us wear to access us with ease,

meaning when we do stand up, we’re flapping in the breeze….

The space they leave on intake forms is laughable at best.

I always have to find more space so I can list the rest.

Those mere four lines aren’t adequate to splay my sordid past.

I require plenty o’ room for the horrors I’ve amassed.

I never know from week to week how good my health will be,

so many times the best I do is plan to wait and see.

I don’t want to be the one who ruins family plans.

And if they want to still go out, I would understand.

But they won’t, which means I feel a guilt (that I don’t need).

So I suggest it every time and someday will succeed.

But though I get frustrated, and I wish they understood,

I hope they never will (the way that only sickies could).

Tomorrow I may find that I can’t get up out of bed.

My symptoms overlap and get all jumbled in my head.

I try hard to keep them straight, the things to ask my doc.

I’ll see him soon: tomorrow, well, that is, if I can walk.

Life for us is day to day, filled with good and bad.

It makes me much more grateful for the healthful times I’ve had.

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