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In Sickness and in Health

Author: Kenneth Nye

Published: 2011-01-20

Synopsis:

Disability poem about Parkinsons disease titled In Sickness and in Health by Kenneth Nye.

Main Digest

Disability poem about Parkinson's disease titled "In Sickness and in Health" by Kenneth Nye

Eleven years ago,
when the doctor looked me in the eye
and said," Mr. Nye, you have Parkinson's disease,"
it never occurred to me that the "you" to whom
he was speaking included another person
who wasn't even in the room.

But as the years have passed,
and this chronic, progressive disease
has become more of a nuisance,
I have come to understand that "you" meant
not me alone, but Ann, too.

There are buttons I can't button,
zippers I can't get started.
There are organizational tasks I used to do routinely
that have now been passed to Ann.
There is medication to be sorted into
little square cups of a daily pill box,
ready to be imbibed every three hours through the day
so I can function almost normally.
There is a joint pocket calendar maintained
by Ann to be sure I get where I am supposed to be,
when I am supposed to be there ----
and she is the driver.
There are foods I shouldn't eat,
but sometimes do;
things I shouldn't do,
but threaten to.
So she watches over me,
like a nurse working a 24 hour shift
that never ends.
As my horizon shrinks,
so does hers.

But she never complains.
And when I get angry or frustrated
that we have to deal with all of this
pain-in-the-neck crap,
she brushes it off,
cools me down,
never offering pity
or even sympathy,
just acting as if this is all part of life
and the promise we made to each other
a long time ago.

She meant every word
of that "in sickness and in health" stuff
45 years ago.

"Mr. Nye, you and your wife have Parkinson's disease."
She never blinked an eyelash.

Am I a lucky man or what

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