Nine Days
January 4, 2021
The Sleepover for Two
August 15, 2021

Voices: Poetry

Voices: Poetry

Reliving and Reviewing

A poetic response to The Privilege of Practice “Old People" Medicine Podcast

nice clip back and forth.
very short question and response format.

veronica is a good questioner.
you both sound very precise.

learned you worked at the VA hospital.
was that the one on east 23rd street?
you like the ww2 vets.

mentorship is lacking.
only encountering specialists.

you were teaching at monte in 2005.
bless you for teaching.

i met one of your students at st. vincent’s.
changed the course of camille’s life and mine.

you see, when you teach you leave seeds.
i’m very grateful for that.

you are a doc to the homebound veronica says.
you explain fee structure.

but you told me you would look after camille for no fee.
i wasn’t to tell anyone, never did.

why did you do it? because you are fulfilling a need.
fulfilling the need to avoid hospitalization. you did that for camille.

veronica says you are a coordinating physician.
funny, i didn’t think of you mostly in that way.

it was very personal for camille and me.
you are smart, but you held our hand.

remember the photo of hand holding?
you held our hands.

you looked camille in the eyes.
she communicated with her eyes and her eyebrows.
you have the pics. you experienced it.

you are talking about the equipment and the paperwork.
you did that too.
you got that special air bed for camille.
she lay in it happily for many years.

you say the people around the homebound is key.
mabel, bev, others, me, you, it worked somehow.
seemed threadbare at times, but we were all so close.
i miss being involved like that.

what happens to a person without means veronica asks
i think camille is a sample case of that. you gifted us.

we are so grateful for that gift.
you got something too out of gifting us i like to think.
was it a bond? i think it was.

talk of emergency room visits
and covid and dying.

we didn’t want camille to die in a hospital or a nursing home.
we wanted camille to die at home.

she died at home.
it sort of worked out with the help of you and others.

subject goes to loss of memory. everyone has it.
i get it but i don’t like landing on that step.

memory can be in the body.
when i got together with camille we remembered being together.
we were together. not separated. we never forgot that.

ah, veronica is an elder law lawyer.
discourse goes to abuse and neglect.

can’t be shy about that happening.
we messed up sometimes.

i sent you pics of camille’s sores.
i asked you to stick a needle in camille
and hydrate her when she got the flu.
i felt a little bad about asking you to do that.

discourse turns to end of life with veronica.
you respond a little obliquely.

i saw the end coming with camille.
i saw it coming for a while. a few weeks before it happened,
i thought about it when i was a child.
i saw it when the end came closer.
we were prepared for it.

100% palliative care you respond.
no one is done. they all want to be cared for you say.

listening to you i hear what i always heard.
you know your doctor shit and you have a heart.

i’m interested in that doctor shit.
and i’m interested in that heart.

you sound good. you sound comfortable with what you are doing.
i’m happy for you that you are comfortable doing what you do.

so many are uncomfortable.
i think about making the uncomfortable as comfortable as we can.
making the uncomfortable comfortable sounds like a slogan.

you love old people and their stories.
we shared many of camille’s stories with you.

some time we can get together for a whiskey
and we will revisit camille stories and your mom and dad stories.

maybe there are some we missed.
i don’t think we ever told you about when camille put a curse on her ex-husband.

you are sharing ruth’ stories from a tough background
and happily ninety-seven now.

ensuring the fact that the future has to change for caring for elders.
that’s the sign off.

aging wisely the podcast is great. thanks for doing the podcast.
thanks for everything. i’m going to try not aging stupidly!



2021 April 30

adapted from the email version Fri 4/30/21 10:49 PM