"I don't just read Pulse, I adore it." --Donald Berwick MD
In Plain Sight (#1)
When I read news articles about caring for elderly parents at a distance, I sometimes shake my head. There's a tendency to put the best spin on the experience: as long as you contact the right people, get the right information and treat the ups and downs as just part of life's challenges, you'll be fine. You can do this!
I find myself wondering when the author last talked to a caregiver at her wits' end--emotions and finances drained, logistics spiraling out of control.
I was a long-distance caregiver for twelve years. I believe it's best to resist a formulaic approach in favor of one informed by the details--and always, always, humbled by the truth.
Knotted seams gather scrubbed skin
and titanium plumbs a heart--
guide wires routing an improvised pulse
and tracing an erratic existence.
In the beginning doctors said
genetic mistake, detrimental
mutation, one in 10,000
statistically speaking. God's will.
At night we wrestle with angels.
Celestial static, incandescent
blue they search our souls
and finger a laboring heart,
heavy like dense lumpy clay
waterlogged and unformed.
I stood right beside them as they slowly slid your head into a plastic bag, looped the coarse twine about your neck and tied it tightly. Like the amateurs they were, they double-knotted it to make sure nothing came loose or dripped out. Then they casually walked away, chatting about what would come next.
Within minutes the bag fogged up, and a clear red liquid pooled at the bottom.
That was just the beginning of the ritual.
I'm sure that under other circumstances you would have put up a fight, Joseph, but today you were no match for them. No matter that they were six slender twenty-somethings, and you at least six feet and 250 pounds; you were on their turf and utterly at their mercy.
a treasury of compelling stories and poems.
Includes The Resilient Heart , Babel: The Voices of a Medical Trauma and Confessions of a Seventy-Five-Year-Old Drug Addict. Foreword by Maureen Bisognano, President of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
Click to read more or to purchase.