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by Diane Perrone

I go through Life with my heart pounding
    On the move
    Trying to fit it all in
Jazzercise    grandkids after school        Canasta
    housekeeping       scrapbooking      Writers Circle
        Bunco    beading     dinners out    shopping
lunches with girlfriends    puppy dog time
On hospital mode
    my heart rate diminishes
    I am diminished
I'm comfortable on a plastic recliner where my feet dangle
    Enough to sleep in it fully clothed
        Though only at 3:00 am when exhaustion
                overwhelms me
        And only for 25 minutes or so at a time
    Inbetween the moans and nurses' voices and the
        sound of my name being called
It's kind of like camping out with just the bare necessities:
    a toothbrush, a good book, a warm blanket
Rather than throwing another log on the fire-
    learning to cover the vent with an extra sheet to
        warm us up
Rather than hearing the cacophony of crickets-
    it's the sound of monitors beeping in some strange
        chorus up and down the hall
I watch him sleep as hours float by
    His face covered in grayish whiskers, nose hairs
        out of control,
        sideburns pushed sideways by the pillow
Is he in pain?
Is his breathing irregular?
Is his color more natural?
I want to climb over the rail and snuggle next to him
    wound up in his wires and tubes
As hard as it is to be a patient-
It's tough to be patient
    waiting for the light to come back to my husband's

Diane M. Perrone enjoyed a 30-year career with Cincinnati Public Schools, during which she wrote instructional units, manuals, and grants. Eight years ago, Diane and her husband, Wally, migrated to Jacksonville, Florida, where she only writes what she loves. Inspiration for this poem came during Wally's month-long hospitalization following the removal of his left kidney. He is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatments.