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An extremely pleasant 89 year old patient of mine has recently been
struggling with functional decline. She has developed some new swelling in her ankles and has not been able to get
around like she used to.  She is still
active and at her most recent visit, she brought in a poem that she wrote with her poetry group.
She was flattered that I wanted to post her poem but she did not want me to say anything else about her. The fact that she participates in a poetry
group should tell you a lot about the type of thoughtful person she is.


Not jumping broad nor high
Not running fast nor straight
My only sport is reading fate
In dramas now and late 

My body’s strength
Is measured by painful pressure
on delicate vessels a high systolic measure 

Oedipus gave us edema in ankles
While all humans
sport their pulses and crankles 

sport can be used as ridicule
by those who lack the tool
of coordination

There is a tension between respecting frailty and preventing
frailty.  One of the recurrent themes of
this Geripal blog has been to highlight how important it is to respect frail
patients.  Her last paragraph in particular
captures this perfectly. 

Curated by: Dan Matlock

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Beautiful. It is clear that while physically frail she is versatile and even robust in her cognitive/linguistic skills. Frailty has many domains and deserves a preface.

  2. Great point – she is definitely cognitively intact. When I used "frailty" I was really referring to physical frailty. You are right though, frailty has many domains.

    I guess that gets to our challenge as a community in agreeing on a unifying definition of frailty.

  3. That was a very nice poem. I could imagine the frustration of not being able to do the things that writer used to do during the younger years.

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