Author's Note: I used to joke that in retirement, I’d spend time in doctors’ waiting rooms, catching up on my reading. First, they did away with magazines, in favor of televisions offering health tips and elective services. Now, during the pandemic, they’ve done away with waiting rooms. Here are two poems about doctors' visits, always anxiety-making for me. Not anxiety-making is the soon-to-be-published In the Muddle of the Night, written with Betsy Mars, and published by Arroyo Seco Press.
One thing about a treadmill is you don’t get anywhere, but you do it rather fast. And if you stumble, as I’m prone to, never quite capturing that left-right-left-right rhythm— lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub— you might get to see the doc a lot quicker instead of waiting for results with a roomful of less-than-perfect strangers pretending to be engrossed in Cardiology Today. The med-tech, she warned me, that I’ve got to keep up or fall off the back of the hay truck. That’s the way she talked, this country girl I kept flirting with to keep my mind off my heart, moved to the big city to make her way, but here she is with me, stuck in another chilly room without a single window to look out of and onto any part of the world. Which I’m an hour closer to leaving, and she— after too long a time with the likes of me— might really enjoy getting to know.
Originally published in Sheila-Na-Gig Online
Visit to the Geriatric Doc
Though young, it seems like he was born for this, the way he can tell an old guy there’s a problem without revealing much at all. But who could refuse more blood work— sort of free on Medicare— though the waiting could wear you down to a nub? I try my ought-to-be-retired Geritol joke and he says, What’s that? and I answer, For tired blood, and he goes, Hmmph, with half a smile and one eyebrow gently raised to acknowledge—while mostly consumed by his phone— he hasn’t the faintest what I’m talking about. Then he chokes my arm with a rubber band to pop my vein, no gentle man, this one, for all his politesse and says, You’ve got good veins, and I wish he’d address me as Pop. And I’d say, Thanks, Son—cause we’re beginning to feel like family— with all the attending discomfort of knowing everything about each other that we’re ever likely to know. And this visit just the beginning; and, sure as I’m sitting on the edge of his table chilled in my undershirt, it will not be a happy end.
Originally published in Autumn Sky Poetry Daily
©2021 Alan Walowitz
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