Poison Ivy


Underneath a burning sky,
Wilted muscles,
Broken bones.
Thirsting for water.

Squirming so that I can’t sit still.
Shuddering from itchy skin.
Poison ivy, head to toe.
Laying in a bed of nails.

Calamine might do the trick,
For a few seconds, anyway.
Or perhaps it is the contact
From rubbing it all on.

Bed covered thrice,
Sheet, then corn starch,
Then another sheet,
And more cornstarch.

Get too hot, you sweat,
Then you itch,
Then you scratch,
Then you ooze,

Then you scratch,
Then it spreads,
And you itch some more.
A vicious, endless cycle.

Taking prednisone,
And Benadryl,
And Ativan,
And more calamine.

Catching sleep when I can.
Hoping for mercy,
More sooner than later.
Next time I decide

To pull up weeds
And pull down vines,
I’ll be wearing long sleeves,
Long pants, and gloves.

Will I ever learn?

Healing Journey in Alabama

Pneumonia of the lingula of the left lung on CXR.
Image via Wikipedia

We all drove from different states,

To see, to see…

We didn’t know what we were

Going to see when we got to the hospital.


We knew you had been in a car accident:

At least two broken ribs and possible pneumonia;

We called on the cell phone on our way out of town

Just like we always do, but we caught Bonnie listening

To the nurse say you had pneumonia.  They hung up,

And Jackie lost it.  Grief set in.  Fear set in.  Doubt set in.


We talked about what would happen if you died.

What where our responsibilities?  The kind of stuff

You never want to think about until it’s too late.


It was a long drive.  Not distance, but emotional.

Jackie was miserable.  She didn’t know if this was

She started thinking back about the good times;

no more of that.  And the horse you had adopted from

the animal shelter, Jackie named him Nugget.  Should

we take him, and how?  We had already talked about

the aged parrots—they would go with us, too.

We’d need a moving van for all this stuff, but whatever.


Then we got there.  You were helpless, drugged out on

Painkiller.  Always asleep or on the verge of sleep until
they stopped the drugs.  You started talking out of your
head, nonsense.

Some glimpses of experience, people, but not able to put it all

Together.  You could never figure out where you
were.  “At the old house”, you’d say, or “the house on Weoka Road”.

Never “hospital” or Baptist East Medical Center.


But each day, with plenty of prayers, in baby steps, you made progress.

With Bonnie, who had never left your side since the accident, never left

The hospital for anything, taking care of every little need of yours.  With

Family and friends coming to see you, praying for you, even back in Florida, New York, and California, they were praying.

And the very next day, your mind starts coming back, and you sit in a chair, your first time out of bed.  You have gone back and forth with pneumonia, but the staff have been on top of it, doing tests, moving you around, giving you oxygen.

And then you do the unthinkable.  You walk down the hall.


You are home now because many others were strong when you could not be strong for yourself.  And God was strong for us all.