aging · life · poetry · writing

Do We Ever Know?

Did she know,
setting the empty bottles
on the stoop,
or later, reading the daily
while sipping first morning tea?

Did she have an inclining
as she dropped a letter in the post,
stopped to chat with an old friend,
then hurried home from the shops
to get out of the rain?

And later,
returning from Judo,
as she gave into sudden malaise
and lay down on the bed,
pausing before tending to dinner,
did she know this was the end?

(I wrote this thinking of my Grandmother on her last day, and of course, contemplating my own demise.  I post it here in light of the anniversary of 9/11.  Do any of us know?  And does it matter?  Death leaves so many unanswered questions in its wake.)

 

health · ME/ CFS · poetry · Uncategorized

Attack

Compromised,
scaling a steep
dangerous
cliff wall

desiring relief,
a sign to indicate
a turning point
an exit

nothing worldly
can calm anxiety
uncertainty
life on hold

kindness
warms, reassures,
cannot counter
looming reality

stifled, begging
willing to deal
response absent
pleas hollow

surrendering
to fear is not an option
strength called for
and courage

love and compassion
the only sword
of significance
battling disease.

(May 12th is Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Awareness Day.  M.E. is a debilitating disease that attacks all systems in body leaving 25% of its victims permanently bed bound.  To date, due to lack of research, there is no effective treatment or cure, even though this disease effects over 1/2 million Canadians and many more worldwide.)

education · health · ME/ CFS · poetry

#TimeForUnrest

Anxiety, like fog, closes in
suffocates, I gasp, fight for air –
this disease so pervasive, lungs
spasm, panic multiplies; help!

Tests, drugs – all speculative,
experimental – symptoms persist
absent treatment protocols, a cure;
so much ignorance, uncertainty

Lie down, they say, refer me
to psychology as if immobility
and exhaustion are tricks of mind,
an overactive emotional imagination.

I am sentenced to seclusion, sensory
deprivation, muscles, nerves, immunity
all defunct, cells failing to produce energy –
a lifeless, inert blob, cognition failing.

But I am not alone; millions of others,
also missing, untreated, abandoned –
but not giving up – Can you hear us?
grief oozing from our pours, unwilling

to be further shamed into silence –
our suffering may be invisible, our
voices weak, but the warriors among us
are beginning to speak – please listen!

(ME/CFS is a debilitating disease that affects millions worldwide.  Absence of funding restricts much needed research.  Not enough is known about this disease to help the many bedridden or homebound.  It affects people of all ages, including children.  In Canada, there are no treatment options, and often medical personnel are not educated about the disease, which can lead to harmful interventions.

Jennifer Brea has become the voice of ME/CFS due to her recent documentary, Unrest.  She can also be found on TedTalks, discussing the implications of having a disease not recognized in medical circles.  Unrest is an awarding winning documentary that sheds light on this disease.   It is apparently being shown on PBS Monday, January 8th.  It’s also available through iTunes.

Please watch.  If you or a loved one suffers from this disease, or any other mystery illness, the film may just trigger new understanding.  If you are a medical professional who has not heard of the disease, the documentary is very informative.)