Philip Quinlan: Alternative Medicine

The dilatory doctor’s diagnosis
is definitely not definitive.
He would dither even under deep hypnosis,
declaring that you may, or may not, live,
and that you’ve reached the Age of Expectation
when memory starts leaking like a sieve,
dilution gets the drop on concentration,
and the cost of cures becomes prohibitive.

When prompted for a probable prognosis
he states that you may not, or may, improve;
more medication might induce narcosis
and is contraindicated; you must give
up a variety of vivifying vices
(on which subject you are pre-contemplative).
Given which, how long? He cautiously advises
that his estimate remains conservative.

There are tests with an array of apparatus,
the results of which are non-affirmative.
We must not rule out a sudden change of status,
but for now we may be somewhat positive:
what could be cancer may be merely flatus;
the truth will out in time (if you’ll forgive  . . . )

By means of these ingenious devices
your symptoms might, or might not, be relieved,
but such palliatives come at pretty prices;
I consider that their use is ill-conceived
unless your situation reaches crisis,
by which point nothing much would be achieved.
Your mental attitude may prove decisive,
your lack of willingness to be deceived.

He prescribes a pink placebo for psychosis,
and may, or may not, be to be believed.