The familiar quotation is attributed to Bette Davis. The exact wording varies but is along the lines of “Old age is no place for sissies.”
How right she was. As body parts reach their best-before dates, curious and unwelcome failures start occurring. Even though people are healthier and vigorous for more years than ever before, there’s no denying the body is gradually edging toward its last stand.
That’s why we need poets like Sterling Haynes, who are in the middle of it all and know how to describe with clarity and laughter.
Sunday morning sadness was spent
listening to the E.R. Surgeon’s
story of my plight – “first the good
news, it hasn’t ruptured,
now the bad news, sir, your
abdominal aneurysm is big.”
Am I to be hosed?
There was a hush – shushed
silence in the room then a tumbling-
mumbling of words – “no driving,
stay at home, no travelling or sex,
walk a mile a day, if the pain
gets bad, come back to the hospital.”
Come back to be hosed?
“Is that all doctor?”
“Please see a vascular surgeon
tomorrow, my records have
been faxed to him today. The nurse
has your appointment time
and now you are discharged.”
Am I to be hosed, urgently?
“Yes, sir, you will be hosed
gently. A stent of kevlon or gore tex and
stainless steel will be imserted
through your femoral arteries
and hooklet attach onto the lining of your
aorta and patch the big bulge.
A hose to stop a speeding bullet?”
An internal bullet proof hose?
A contrasting CT scan and measurements
tailored to fit my belly’s bulge.
My stent constructed in Mississauga
to fit me like a glove, sent by UPS to
the Kelowna General. To be threaded up
my groin, femorally – eureka!
My hose will be screwed clockwise.
Now my innards are water proof
no leaking into my gut…yeah!
to be hosed good and proper
and yeah, my feet are warmer too.
©2011 Sterling Haynes