Sunday, February 28, 2010

Show and smell

M was annoyed and didn’t look well. She rummaged in her purse, then tossed a Ziploc bag on the desk.

Uh-oh, close encounters of the turd kind. Could’ve figured this out sans sample!

She rose at visit’s end, went to leave without Exhibit A.

“Would you mind throwing out...that?”

So she did, right into the basket underneath my desk.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lady Madonna

She was nursing her son as I entered the room. Long brown hair cascaded over her shoulders; she smiled and mentioned two special needs toddlers home now with Dad.

Sated and overcome with curiosity, her baby turned, flashing a total body grin at me. This tiny dynamo was long on enthusiasm, energy, and chromosome 23.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

And now it's too late

Jeanette was always tired and always in pain. A consultation of experts and I couldn’t figure out why.

One afternoon, she napped in her rocking chair and never woke up. Still, she sang at her funeral; her recorded voice like an angel’s, husky and haunting. I didn’t know she sang. I never asked, she never said.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Hair today, here tomorrow

Two friends shared cancer and chemo, enduring, in tandem, the ebb and grow of hair. R’s grew back in darling ringlets; K sent new growth up in fright wig style.

Waiting for haircuts, a tweenager stared at K and nudged his mom: “That’s how I want my hair to look.”

K roared with laughter, survivor style.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Nothing simple about being old

Eighty-something, on seven drugs, six supplements, and under the care of nine different doctors including four different orthopedists for as many body parts. She wanted to discuss simplifying her care.

As she left the office, she caught her leg on the car door, peeling the fragile skin back like tissue paper. So much for simplification.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

So who's the "Glamor Don't"?

I ushered my patient into a room thinking “I wish I could carry off high-heeled boots with such ease.

She, in turn, regarded me with curiosity as she eased into her seat. Adjusting her tiny skirt, she remarked “Well you’re not exactly styling today.”.

I waited for the ‘just kidding’ to follow, but, alas, it never did.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The lady and the stats

She’d walk each day to the store, a cane in one hand, cigarette in the other. She quit at age 90, walking... not smoking.

Shortly after her 93rd, I sat beside her on the tiled bathroom floor waiting for the paramedics to arrive.

One-third of old ladies die within a year of a hip fracture.

Damn statistics.

Monday, February 1, 2010

One foot away from a normal life

The room was quiet save for the hiss and whir of metered pumps and vacuum drains. Her foot had slipped from the covers, the toes perfectly appointed with rosy polish.

She moaned softly in her drugged sleep. I thought of how just last week she surely groaned with pleasure as her feet slipped into the suds.