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.

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!

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.

“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.

 

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–

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.

 

 

The Best Plan We’ve Got

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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.”

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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