Vital signs II

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: vital. For me, vital brings up vital signs. I wrote this poem in 2006. Pain was made the fifth vital sign in 1996. I have written about it here. In June of 2016, the American Medical Association recommended dropping pain as a vital sign. The idea that we should be “free” of pain has not died yet and the latest CDC report says that the overdose death rate for women has risen a horrifying 240% from 1999 to 2017. That report is here: Drug Overdose Deaths Among Women Aged 30–64 Years — United States, 1999–2017. My poem is still relevant and we still have to change our ideas about pain.

Vital signs II

Pain
Is now a vital sign
On a scale of 1:10
What is your pain?
The nurses document
Every shift

Why isn’t joy
a vital sign?

In the hospital
we do see joy

and pain

I want feeling cared for
to be a vital sign

My initial thought
is that it isn’t
because we can’t treat it

But that isn’t true

I have been brainwashed

We can’t treat it
with drugs

We measure pain
and are told to treat it
helpful pamphlets
sponsored by the pharmaceutical companies
have articles
from experts

Pain is under treated
by primary care
in the hospital
and there are all
these helpful medicines

I find
in my practice
that much of the pain
I see
cannot be treated
with narcotics
and responds better
to my ear

To have someone
really listen
and be curious
and be present
when the person
speaks

If feeling cared for
were a vital sign
imagine

Some people
I think
have almost never felt cared for
in their lives

They might say
I feel cared for 2 on a scale of 10

And what could the nurses do?

No pills to fix the problem

But perhaps
if that question
were followed by another

Is there anything we can do
to make you feel more cared for?

I wonder
if asking the question
is all we need

I took the photograph yesterday with my cell phone. It was so gloriously sunny that the water really was turquoise and I did no photoshop changes.

memory’s vault

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: fumble.

Up near the bunker’s is Memory’s Vault. This is the first part of the poem A Lover’s Quarrel, about the longing for home. The poems are by Sam Hamill. It is a beautiful place.

I hope that no one fumbles with our hearts during the holidays and that we feel loved and home wherever we are….

doctor’s orders

For the Ragtag Daily Prompt: recommend.

doctor’s orders

I recommend a daily walk

no earbuds
no headphones

listen to the wind
to the trees
to the birds
to the traffic
to the city
or the country

feel the ground
the pebbles
the sidewalk
the dirt
the grass
the wind
the sun
the rain
the cold
the crunch
of snow or ice

look at trees
weeds
birds
dogs
people
sidewalks
cracks
water
snow

smell cold
snow
rain
sun
sand
sidewalks
grass

taste the wind
a snowflake
a leaf
ice

touch the earth

and let the rest go

pig in blankets

For mindlovesmisery’s Heeding Haiku catch reality: With a nasty cold, I have to be off from work for long enough that I won’t cough talking and get pneumonia again. But the work piles up…

pig in blankets

virus swollen drain
balance, rest while paper piles
return to work soon

You noticed the pig in the blankets..but did you notice the other?

aha!.jpg

Miss Boa likes the blankets. A purring comfort for me.

surf

Have you been on a beach with surf and small rocks? The rocks click as the surf rolls in and out.

 

surf

 

it’s hard hard to let go of the dead

harder still to let go of the living

and you say to yourself
they love me, they just don’t understand

you try and try and try to explain

“Don’t talk to us!” they say

Whispers return to you

a garbled version of your words
out of context
twisted
they twist your words

you keep hoping

hope slowly ebbs
tide going out
sand in an hourglass
no, slower
erosion of a rock
tumbled in surf
smashed on other rocks
over and over and over

water wins
the sea wins
hope erodes

let go

they do love you

and they are afraid

they cannot let you close
they cannot listen

your words are fearful

vulnerable is fearful
speaking your truth is fearful
you authentic is fearful

they shake

agony of longing

to be authentic

let them go

and maybe love
and longing
will toss them as rocks in the surf

until they too are changed

black on white

black on white

white on black

it doesn’t matter

angels falling
made to fall
at peace with falling

I let myself fall
at peace with falling

and wonder what that means?

death?

no

though there are times I long
for the Beloved
for union with the Beloved
for all in one
and one all

let go

when an angel falls
they are at peace

they are at peace
with falling

people

see black and white

people

see good and evil

people

separate
label
categorize

angels don’t

black on white
or
white on black

it doesn’t matter
there is no separation
we are one

Beloved

One