Monday, May 14, 2007

The ED Sonnets: Room 11

Here are the next two sonnets. But first, a contest!

Do you have a chronic illness? Do you have a friend with a chronic illness? Jenni of ChronicBabe has five extra copies of Lisa Copen's book Beyond Casseroles: 505 Ways to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend, and she'll send them to the people who e-mail her the best stories about how someone helped them with a chronic illness, or how they helped someone else with a chronic illness. Read more here. The deadline's May 18, coming up fast!

Also, this week's Grand Rounds is up, a day early, and I'm pleased that my last batch of sonnets is included.

And now, on to the new poems.


Bed 11.1

“We’re visiting from Iowa,” she says.
“We’re flying back tomorrow, if we can.
We had a lovely time, until we stuffed
ourselves at the buffet: oh, what a sight!
Roast beef, asparagus with hollandaise,
shrimp cocktail, pasta . . . “ All in warming pans,
I think, and incubating germs as tough
as rubber chicken.
“We were up all night,”
she says. “It all gushed out from either end.
And now we’re terrified we’ll miss our flight
back home. I could reschedule, but my friend’s
less flexible.” “I’m sure you’ll be all right,”
I say. “They’ll give you fluids, and you’ll mend
in no time.” Welcome to Casino Blight.


Bed 11.2

And here’s her friend, still green, the Tweedledee
to Bed One’s Tweedledum. “I have to be
in Iowa! My nephew’s getting back
this Wednesday. He was injured in Iraq;
he lost a leg, and heaven only knows
about his head. I’m scared. My sister goes
to a support group -- soldiers’ relatives --
but I can’t stand it. What he’s suffered gives
me nightmares. I’m on medication now:
anxiety. We thought this Reno trip
might be a fun distraction, a release.
It hasn’t helped. I can’t imagine how
I’ll help him. Can we pray?” Her tale’s the tip
of icebergs: terrors, tears. We pray for peace.


  1. Anonymous12:42 PM

    Amen to that. I hope we all pray for peace,


  2. Everytime I read your posts about your ED patients, I recall my most valued compatriots in another hospital - the ED psychiatric social workers. They were all purpose counselors, chaplains(very little chaplaincy there, I don't know why), staff supports, humorists and all around great women. The traumas that they dealt with were of the soul, and they handled so many crises and life shattering events with grace and sincerity. You remind me of them.

  3. Thank you, N=1! A few years ago, we lost our ED social workers to budget cuts, and they're sorely missed. The RN case managers try to fill that void, and so do I when I'm there -- but of course, I'm not a trained social worker.


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