Martin Parker: "Bearing In Mind This Patient's Age . . ."

I went to my doctor to ask for some pills
To cope with still more of senescence’s ills,
And when he was out of the room I was able
To read all my records spread out on the table.
I knew I was old, but was worried to see
My health was much worse than I thought it to be.
So, as continued existence is clearly at risk,
I’ll summarise briefly and try to be brisk.

It seems that my doctor’s not eager to linger
On what he can feel with his rubber-gloved finger.
But he writes though it hasn’t yet reached its potential
It’s trebled in size and its growth’s exponential.
Thus it's par for the course I’m up five times a night
And he cannot pretend the prognosis is bright.
But, bearing in mind that I’m sixty-five plus,
He sees little point in my making a fuss.

My notes say I’ve bouts of depression because
I’m not now the man that I think I once was.
But most of me’s present and some is correct,
Though bits of me now are just there for effect
And if, on the upside, they no longer hurt,
I see he’s observed that they’re somewhat less pert.
But, since I am ancient enough to be dead,
I’m not doing badly. Well, that’s what he’s said −

Though he adds I’ve angina and brittle-ish bones,
My gall-bladder’s chocker with boulder-sized stones,
My heart’s in the right spot, but that’s about all,
And I’ve tinnitus, gout and a growth on one ball.
Then the fact I’ve both lungs is a source of surprise
And the same can be said for my knees and my eyes.
But, bearing in mind that I’m past sixty-five,
My doctor’s relieved that this patient’s alive.

My eyesight, he notes, means I find it quite hard
To make out the wall where he’s hung up the card.
The list of my ailments would fill up a book
And I’ve polyps in places he’d sooner not look.
My hearing is poor. He’s resorted to mime.
If he asks me the date I respond with the time.
But, bearing in mind my long years at the stage
Where I’m paid by the State I’m quite good for my age.

I have halitosis, a worrying cough,
My waterworks dribble and seldom turn off,
My blood pressure’s high and he’s starting to think
That my liver’s kaput on account of the drink,
And, so far as the brain scan equipment can see,
There is nothing at all where my memory should be.
But, apart from some symptoms he’d rather not mention,
I’m really not bad for a man on a pension.

My doctor’s concluded my kidneys are shot,
He’s amazed I have sex − and he’s not sure with what.
My stools are ill-formed and it’s troublingly clear
That it’s more than a case of just simple diarrhoea.
And, as he has found from my MRI scan,
I’ve things he can’t fix, though he’s told me he can,
I ought to accept that I’ll never be well by
The end of my life. I’m too far past my sell-by.

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It’s not quite the picture I hoped they would paint.
I thought I was healthy. It seems that I ain’t.
But, buy a nice casket to carry me off in
And I’ll look pretty good for a corpse in a coffin.

(One of the prize-winners in the Percy French Comic Verse
  Competition at the 2011 Strokestown Poetry Festival.)