Because the rosy condition
makes my nose bumpy and big,
and I give them the crap they deserve,
they write me off as a boozer
and snow me with drugs. Like I’m gonna
go wild and green bugs are gonna
crawl on me and I’m gonna tear out
their goddamn precious IV.
I haven’t had a drink in a year
but those slick bastards cross their arms
and talk about sodium. They come
with their noses crunched up like my room
is purgatory and they’re the
goddamn angels doing a bit
of social work. Listen, I might not
have much of a body left,
but I’ve got good arms — the polio
left me that — and the skin on my hands
is about an inch thick. And when I used
to drink I could hit with the best
in Braddock. Listen, one more shot
of the crap that makes my tongue stop
and they’ll have something on their hands
they didn’t know existed. They’ll have time
on their hands. They’ll be spinning around
drunk as skunks, heads screwed on backwards,
and then Doctor Big Nose is gonna smell
their breaths, wrinkle his forehead, and spin
down the hall in his wheelchair
on the way to the goddamn heavenly choir.
Questions for Discussion:
As a future doctor, how does this poem make you feel?
If you have ever been a patient in hospital, has your experience felt similar to that of the patient in the poem?
How might the physicians behave differently so that they do not foster such resentment in their patients? Is it the doctor’s fault that the patient feels this way?