I’m Gonna Slap Those Doctors (Jack Coulehan)

Because the rosy condition
makes my nose bumpy and big,
and because 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.

Discussion Questions:
1. How did you feel while reading the patient’s perspective in this poem?
2. As health care providers, how can we avoid alienating our patients in the process of providing education and counselling?

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