Tuesday, January 29, 2013

In This January by Susan Goyette

I have no words of my own.  I am as mute as if someone had cut out my tongue, broken all of my fingers and stolen my voice.  Sorry. 



By Susan Goyette
From:  "The True Names of Birds", page 50

This must be the month when someone decided
to make months; to count sunsets and full moons and only give it
so much time.  And though Janus looks both ways, this January

is intent only on winter's face.  It cups and kisses it
on the forehead, on the eyelashes.  Why would winter
ever want to leave, if all that attention kept up.

I pass a half-built church on my walk every morning
and every morning I'm filled with envy thinking of the dreams
the people building it must have.  My dreams are shoeboxes

filled with bones from my feet.  When I wake it's with a mouthful
of mother-may-I's and the taunting of another day,
daring me to take a step as it pulls the walls up even higher.

No, it doesn't look both ways, it makes me do that.
This house is a maze of those bare walls, perfect
for showing home movies on.  And I am the projector.


"Antisthenes says that in a certain faraway land the cold is so intense that words freeze as soon as they are uttered, and after some time then thaw and become audible, so that words spoken in winter go unheard until the next summer." ~Plutarch, Moralia


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Assessment by Jeanne Bryner

"Smoke" by Jeanne Bryner

By Jeanne Bryner

If you see wrist scars
kneel down,
check both ankles
offer to wash her feet.

From:  "Smoke" by Jeanne Bryner


I don't recall how I stumbled upon this book of poetry, but I love every poem in it.  Ms. Bryner is a Registered Nurse and an award-winning poet/writer.  Her poetry is awesome, skillfully bringing the love, care, frustrations and deep devotion of her vocation to the craft of poetry.  I have 5 nurses in my family and my husband is a retired nurse.  They (along with school teachers) are truly the neglected, under-paid, under-appeciated heroes of our world.

Now is the time to be mute.
I will sit beside you without speaking.

I will cushion your bones in silence.
I will put my ear to your ear

and wait to hear a wave's scant echo
rippling from the distant rim.   ~Alice Cone, "A Time to be Mute

Hug and thank a nurse next time you encounter them (after the flu season is over).


"Nursing is an art: and if it is to be made an art, it requires an exclusive devotion as hard a preparation, as any painter's or sculptor's work; for what is the having to do with dead canvas or dead marble, compared with having to do with the living body, the temple of God's spirit? It is one of the Fine Arts: I had almost said, the finest of Fine Arts." ~Florence Nightingale


Always thank your nurse,
Sometimes the only one between you and a hearse.
~Carrie Latet



Sunday, January 20, 2013

Shame on you, Governor Bobby Jindal!!!

"Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."  ~Dylan Thomas
My own mother is on Medicaid and it infuriates me that she may not get Hospice care should she need it.   My Aunt Mace (who raised us) died of lung cancer many years ago and Mama took care of her for two years as she slowly died.  Hospice nurses (truly, they are angels) came twice a week providing medicine, loving care and much-needed information.  She was able to die with dignity at home surrounded by the ones she loved.
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal has directed the state Department of Health and Hospitals to eliminate the hospice benefit for Medicaid patients, effective February 1, 2013. - Call/Write/Email your Legislator and the Governor's office to demand that we provide services to the poorest and sickest of our citizens. 
Mailing Address:
Governor Bobby Jindal
PO Box 94004
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9004

Phone: 225-342-7015 or 866-366-1121 (Toll Free)
Fax: 225-342-7099
Email Governor Bobby Jindal:



Commentary by Sherrill Phelps, RN, administrator of Christus Cabrini Hospice and the president-elect of the Louisiana-Mississippi Hospice and Palliative Care Organization

"Death is an uncomfortable topic for almost everyone. We know it happens to all of us, eventually, and we realize that for some it will be unexpected, while for others, the end of a long journey.

For those facing death as a journey through a lingering illness, hospice is an incredible resource to deal with the stress and anxiety families and patients experience.
Education about the disease process, what might happen next and access to medicine and equipment are the only ways families are able to cope at home. Even nursing homes will want to send a dying patient to the hospital for a fever or other medical crisis.

But is the emergency room or intensive care unit the best option? Is it what the patient or family wants? Is it the cheapest option for the payor (Medicare, Medicaid, insurance or family)?  Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has directed the state Department of Health and Hospitals to eliminate the hospice benefit for Medicaid patients, effective Feb. 1, 2013.

While the intent of the directive is to save costs, research and the experience of other states show that hospice actually costs less while providing better and more appropriate care for dying patients. Hospice Analytics released a study based on 2010 Medicaid figures.
In Louisiana, average savings were estimated at $17,601 for hospice care compared to patients who were hospitalized at end of life. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer recently reinstituted hospice care after Medicaid costs increased by almost 5 percent in a single year when the hospice benefit was eliminated.

According to Louisiana’s health department, Medicaid patients can receive medical care through home health and long-term personal care services. Of course, home health eligibility requires patients to make “progress to goals.” And the personal care services have a current waiting list of several years.

The health department goes on to say that community nonprofit and faith-based organizations can provide medical social support services. What specific organizations are those in Central Louisiana? I am unaware of any medical social support services for the dying available through an organization other than a hospice organization licensed and certified by state licensure. Christus Cabrini Hospice is the only faith-based, nonprofit hospice in Central Louisiana. We serve about 6 percent of our patients as free care and an additional 9 percent as Medicaid. Several of the investor-owned hospice companies (for-profit) have already stated that they will not provide free care.

While the Christus mission is “to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ,” Bishop Dubuis famously stated, “No money, no mission.” The approximately half-million dollars in Medicaid patient care will not be possible to provide without a massive fundraising effort. We want to continue providing services for those who need us after Feb. 1. The question is, how long can we serve without funding? As always, it is the poorest and sickest who will suffer the most. The cuts have no impact on those with Medicare or private insurance.

If you are disturbed by the decision to eliminate hospice care for Medicaid patients, I urge you to contact your legislators and Gov. Jindal. Time is running out."
Matthew 25:40, 44, 45
New International Version
‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me...’    “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’  “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Rider on the Stormy Sea by Mary Timony

Old Dragonfly by Marion

Rider on the Stormy Sea
By Mary Timony

You're a rider on the stormy sea
What do you get for curiosity?
I am the girl with the feather heart
That the birds flew down and pecked apart.

The turning of the young man's head
Is a mystery that's unsolvable---
The feelings come, the feelings go,
In a universe that nobody knows.

The saddest soul I ever saw
Was my best friend...
With the eyes of the ancient cat.
I see 44 mysteries in that.

The turning of the young mans head
Is a mystery that's unsolvable
The color of the robin's egg,
And the stars that dawn every day.

from her album, "Mountains"


Cold, rainy, dreary day here in the swamp.  Blah weather.  Winter has finally schlepped in and parked for a spell.  My yellow Angel Trumpet tree outside has five huge flowers blooming on it (Ray says I'm a witch...what can I say?)   I'm reading James Agee's "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men".  Don't know how I missed him in all my reading of Southern authors, but I did.  I'm glad I found him right now, though.  Oh, the joy of reading...nothing on earth surpasses the bliss of finding a writer who touches your soul.  Stay warm, y'all.


"I suggest that the only books that influence us are those for which we are ready, and which have gone a little farther down our particular path than we have yet got ourselves." ~E.M. Forster, Two Cheers for Democracy, 1951


"Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures." ~Jessamyn West