Ultra Sounds Monday, February 11, 2013

Hi all,

I am delighted to have received a new poem from Nigel Paul.  Nigel is a “writer and artist with a strong interest in the relationships between media, culture, society and politics.” You may remember Nigel from a poem published here last April,

Even though I have moved the focus away from submissions, if you have something you are hankering to share please do still send it my way. I will be pleased to consider it for posting.

All the best

Sam

The Park Bench

I held her hand tightly,

As she started to tell me,

Is this what park benches are for?

 

 

She said it’s the sinking heart feeling,

That hurts her the most,

And the voice of her mother’s ghost,

Saying ‘You should’ve done better,

You should’ve done more,’

And it’s the memory of that voice,

That breaks our silence,

Creates the ripples,

Causes the creases of laughter,

‘You were the only daughter,’

I sit and tell her,

Is this what park benches are for?

 

 

And we sat and we drifted,

Through memories and smiles,

For many a-passer-by,

And we didn’t even cry,

When it started to rain,

And she didn’t even cry,

When he spoke of the pain,

I just held her hand tightly,

And I listened with care,

Is this what park benches are for?

Because I know I’ll be beck here,

To hold this memory so dear,

As I hold on to her tightly,

Because today is just today.

NDP

6/2/13

Belly Laugh Friday – Feb 1, 2013

As most of you know, my strange illness has given me a belly that makes me look about seven months pregnant. After so many years I have been able to find the humour both in the queries and the responses I give to the queries.  Sometimes I actually look forward to bizarre responses because they make such good stories. Belly-laugh Fridays is my chance to share these humorous tidbits with all of you. Enjoy.

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Two weeks ago I was at the blood lab having my blood work drawn by a young man I had never seen before. We chatted and, of course, he asked me the question, “When are you due?” I apprised him of my situation and he seemed not at all put off by his mistake.

He giggled and said, “Oh, I was going to congratulate you.”

I laughed as well and said, “Well, you can go ahead and congratulate me on my big liver.”

We were firm friends after that.

Time for contemplation

coal-hole-2

Jeanette Winterson, in her fantastic memoir Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal, writes:

“The one good thing about being shut in a coal hole is that it prompts reflection.”

She goes on to meditate on life, happiness and normalcy; results of the reflection that occurred during the many hours she was locked in the coal hole by her mother.

Now I don’t mean to suggest that a hospital waiting room is like a coal hole, but there is a similarity of ‘in-betweenness’ in the situations. In both cases, the job we have is to wait for the next phase, whether it be freedom from the coal hole or the opportunity to go in to an appointment. How we use that time is up to us, of course.

The waiting room does have more distractions than the coal hole, which is why, perhaps, Jeanette’s in-between time was more productive and profound than mine generally is. I have returned to my old ways of reading, writing and checking email in the time before I am called in. I have lost some of my capacity to just sit and ‘be’ during this time.

I would like to reactivate that part of me that knows how to wait. That will be my goal for tomorrow’s visit. Who knows what deep thoughts might appear. I’ll keep you posted.

Sam

ARS Medica

 

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I recently stumbled again upon ARS Medica: A Journal of Medicine, The Arts, and Humanities. If you think about it, it’s a pretty cool idea for a journal and right up my alley.

For you medical professionals, they have opened up the .  Here’s the basic info:

Open to all health profession students, researchers, residents, fellows, health care practitioners and faculty working or studying in Canada.

1. Deadline: Monday March 18, 2013.

2. Parameters: All works must be previously unpublished and relate to medical humanities in the broadest sense. Poetry, limited to two submissions per person. Prose works, limited to 1 per person, can be any style (e.g., creative nonfiction, fiction, essay etc.)

If you live in the Toronto area, ARS Medica also has movie viewings and writing workshops. Pass this on to all of the medical professionals in your life. They can probably use it.

Sam

Belly Laugh Friday, January 4, 2013

As usual I’m late – let’s just pretend it’s Friday.

As most of you know, my strange illness has given me a belly that makes me look about seven months pregnant. After so many years I have been able to find the humour both in the queries and the responses I give to the queries.  Sometimes I actually look forward to bizarre responses because they make such good stories. Belly-laugh Fridays is my chance to share these humorous tidbits with all of you. Enjoy.

Sam

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I try to come up with humorous responses to put people at ease when I tell them about my belly. One of my favourites is the following:

________________________________________________________________________

 “When are you due?”

“Well, actually, I’m not pregnant, this is all liver from a bone marrow disease. Have you ever seen a liver as impressive as this before?

“Well, uh…no.”

“It is a wonder. Doctors gather when I am about in order to marvel over this miraculous organ.”

_____________________________________________________________________________

And while it is said tongue in cheek, there is much truth in that statement. New doctors practically salivate in their eagerness to palpate my liver. Sometimes colleagues and medical students will be retrieved to view my notable organ. “You’ll never see one like this again.”

At a recent ultra sound appointment I was delayed by the technician because the doctor herself wanted to come in and see me. I worried that perhaps she had seen something concerning. In fact, she was simply keen to meet me in person and examine my liver.

I feel like I could use my own carny  “All right, step right up, ladies and gentleman. See first hand the world’s largest liver. You will never see a liver like this again. Come right this way. World’s largest liver. And for only a small extra fee you, too, can palpate this world class organ.”

I actually do keep pressing my doctor to find out if it is the biggest liver she has actually seen, but she won’t commit.

 

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Happy New Year to all!

2013. It’s an awesome number to be writing. I was diagnosed in 2000, 13 years ago.

In the Jewish tradition, a boy or girl reaching the age of 13 enters into their adulthood (as celebrated with the Bar or Bat Mitzvah.) So this would mean that my illness is entering its mature years.

An adolescent who turns 13 is not really an adult yet. He or she still lives at home, is financially dependent and can’t fully participate in civil society. They usually do gain some autonomy, however, and start to act more like an adult.

Likewise, my disease is still living at home and is dependent on me for life. At the same time, it’s gained some autonomy. It can go out without me. It does not completely absorb me. It is my disease, it is not me.

Ideally, this gradual separation will one day result in the disease leaving home. But we all know that the trend these days is for kids to  return home to live with their parents when they can’t get a job. Maybe mine will go to medical school and look after me in my old age.

Sam

As most of you know, my strange illness has given me a belly that makes me look about seven months pregnant. After so many years I have been able to find the humour both in the queries and the responses I give to the queries.  Sometimes I actually look forward to bizarre responses because they make such good stories. Belly-laugh Fridays is my chance to share these humorous tidbits with all of you. Enjoy.

Sam

 

24Sphere

 

This week’s visit to the chemo unit presented me with a perfect story for today. In fact, knowing I could write about this event, made the whole thing much more pleasurable.

This dialogue is between myself and the female  patient sitting in the chair next to mine.

Other patient (in a voice that could be heard all over the ward): WELL, WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE YOUR BABY?!

Me (trying to whisper): Well, actually, I’m not pregnant.

Other patient: WHAT??

Me: I’m not pregnant

O.P: YOU’RE NOT PREGNANT?

Me: I have a big liver

O.P.: YOU JUST HAVE A BIG BELLY?

Me: I have a big liver

O.P.: YOU HAVE A BIG LIVER? A BIG LIVER? HOW ABOUT THAT? I’VE NEVER HEARD OF SUCH A THING. YOU HAVE A BIG LIVER. HMMM

 

And that was the end of our conversation. She simply got lost in meditating on a big liver.

I reflected that maybe it was good that we had this very public conversation. Now lots of people would be forewarned about my belly. Perhaps I should plant someone like this woman in every new situation I find myself in. It would break the ice and people wouldn’t need to ask the question. Hmmm. Any volunteers?