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.

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.

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.

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.

 

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.”

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.

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