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Enduring Guardianship

Sue Ogle

I was cool on the way to the lawyer, we’d talked it all through, no problem.

So why am I remembering the old kauri house where the wiring was dodgy
and I held my breath as she flicked the switch to turn off the power? How can
I do it without her, flick off the switch of life, decide on her fate or my own,
without consultation, alone? What if she goes and

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Mementos and Memories

Paul Rousseau

Delores sits tilted to the right in a worn wheelchair, a curtain separating her from a sleeping roommate. 

She is wearing a blue blouse stained with something orange, perhaps Jell-O, and white pants and white socks. A worn gold wedding band adorns the fourth finger of her left hand. Her hair is a shiny gray, perfectly coiffed,

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Losing My Vision

Sheila Solomon Klass

Sunday, September 26 of this past year began normally enough. I did what I do every day, first thing: I put on my glasses and tested my vision. I’m eighty-three years old, and although I’ve always been nearsighted and have lived with glaucoma for thirty years, I’ve developed a worse complaint: AMD, age-related macular degeneration, in my left eye. 

My ophthalmologist diagnosed the AMD after I told him that, when I was

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Third Party

Mary E. Moore

Tipping forward to escape
the wheelchair’s confines, the ancient one
pleads with her feet, “Go home.”

It’s her companion who volunteers 
the Chief Complaint: “Ever since her stroke,
Mother’s back seems to hurt.

Her doctors say there’s nothing can be done, 
but I thought that perhaps a specialist ….”
She strokes the old woman’s shoulders. 

“Does it hurt here, or there, or if I touch this?” 
My fingers probe among birdish bones.
Ignoring me,

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Confessions of a 75-Year-Old Drug Addict

Arlene Silverman

The physician, a slim, young man with a shaved head and intense, dark eyes, reaches out to shake hands. I fumble to extend one hand while the other clutches a questionnaire that I haven’t finished filling out. 

“That’s okay,” Dr. Gordon says. “You can finish later.”

He can tell that I’m nervous, but seems to understand. He knows that I’ve had to sign in at a window surrounded by other

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Reflections From a Senior Citizen

I used to talk of fun and games

Now I talk of aches and pains.
I used to paint the town bright red
Now at nine I am in bed.

I used to dream of lovers bold.
Now if truth be told
The only men who interest me
Are those with a medical degree.

“Why,” you ask, “have they such clout?”
Well–we have so much to talk

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Maman

Paul Gross

At a recent religious service I attended with Maman, my 87-year-old mother, I watched her fumbling attempts to find hymn number 123, “Spirit of Life,” in the hymnal. I held my book up, opened to the appropriate page, so that we both could sing from it.

She glanced up momentarily, tightened her lips, hunched forward and resumed turning pages, finally arriving at the song when the congregation was singing the second verse,

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Giving Care

Ronna L. Edelstein

When I was six, my family and I spent a week in Atlantic City. I loved the Boardwalk with its saltwater-taffy aroma and colorful sights, but I feared the pier that jutted far out into the Atlantic. One moonless night, my big brother bet me a bag of taffy that I couldn’t walk to the pier’s end by myself. Never one to back down, I accepted his bet. But the farther out

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Rx

 Veneta Masson

Politicians…were quick to rise to the defense 

of a particularly vulnerable population. As a group, 
dual-eligibles [Medicare-Medicaid] have incomes below 
the poverty rate…and take an average of 15 medications a day.

 

Washington Post
January 14, 2006

 

This is how it works: 
as wealth trickles down 
to the poor and old 
it turns into pills.

 

So M and S, their slender portfolios 
long since depleted, can still
compete for bragging rights.

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A Brush With the Beast

It all begins one Sunday morning when Mrs. Morris, a 75-year-old retiree with a heart condition, trips on her way out of church. She falls flat on the sidewalk, can’t get up, and ends up in our Bronx emergency room. A CT scan shows a pelvic fracture, and she’s admitted to our inpatient team.

When I join the family medicine residents to see Mrs. Morris the following day, she can’t get out of bed. She’s

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