Resuscitation

Toward a Theatre Piece

by Evelyn Hooven (June 2021)


Old Women of Arles, Paul Gauguin, 1888
 
 

Louca, a physician in her mid-30s
Nell, a patient in her 80s

Louca

At first I was letting myself be persuaded,
but soon found it was right for me:
physician for old folks, geriatrician.
The patient volume compensates
for skimpy Medicare and—yes—
they’re respectful, compliant, and grateful.
For most, I’m the last doctor they’ll have—
close second to God.

I couldn’t predict how sheerly off-putting
I’d find life in the slow lane. Even the ones
who aren’t slowed down mentally seem,
with their canes or walkers,
to inch their way, dreariness guaranteed.
And after they’ve been weighed,
ascending, descending the scale with help,
vital signs seem like a misnomer.
Yesterday I had to wait,
only a moment,
but I’m the one
who should be waited for.

One patient, no mental impairment,
only her walk is slow,
left one question on her
Medicare form blank,
the issue of losing consciousness:
“Do you want to be resuscitated?”
She wrote in the margin
“I’d like to find out more,
think much more.”

The next time,
she brought a book I had written
with good assistance from graduate fellows.
My seminar on Death and Dying
seemed far away,
as did the book itself.
It got me my promotion.

She’d purchased the book,
read it, asked for my signature
inside the cover
and had written questions.
I couldn’t summon the detail.
“We’re on the next patient’s time.”
I said. She closed the book.

I began to see that the best compensation
in my slow-lane practice had been
the thrill of power over life and death.
Absolute assumption not to be
diminished. If that fades,
I’d have to change my specialty.

Though she lived a distance from
my office in the hospital,
she managed, day before Thanksgiving,
and slow-walking with a cane,
to arrive on time-- just.
I had an important luncheon
appointment and needed
for her to be early.
When the physician’s assistant
Appeared with cardiogram
apparatus, I turned him away.
“I was on time,” Nell said.
I said, “Well do it next visit,
When there’s less holiday congestion.”

The next time, she brought a poem
she’d composed about death.
Could she be presenting herself
As a fellow author,
My colleague?

Nell

I thought I’d let you know
Some of my feelings about dying.
If I can stay mentally sound,
I want resuscitation.

Louca

Oh . . . ? I advise against it.

Nell

But in your book . . .

Louca

Those cases were exceptional.
One was younger--

Nell

It’s still my only life.
I decided on resuscitation.
I’d like for someone to revive me--
But I don’t want it to be you.

END

 
 

_________________________________
Evelyn Hooven graduated from Mount Holyoke College and received her M.A. from Yale University, where she also studied at The Yale School of Drama. A member of the Dramatists’ Guild, she has had presentations of her verse dramas at several theatrical venues, including The Maxwell Anderson Playwrights Series in Greenwich, CT (after a state-wide competition) and The Poet’s Theatre in Cambridge, MA (result of a national competition). Her poems and translations from the French and Spanish have appeared in Parnassus: Poetry in Review, ART TIMES, Chelsea, The Literary Review, THE SHOp: A Magazine of Poetry (in Ireland), The Tribeca Poetry Review, Vallum (in Montreal), and other journals, and her literary criticism in Oxford University’s Essays in Criticism.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast
 
Comments
No comments yet.


Pre-order on Amazon or Amazon UK today!


Order on Amazon or Amazon UK today!


Order at Amazon or Amazon UK.today!
Audible read by Ann Osmond

Subscribe

Categories

Adam Selene (2) A.J. Caschetta (7) Ahnaf Kalam (2) Alexander Murinson (1) Andrew E. Harrod (1) Andrew Harrod (5) Anne-Christine Hoff (1) Bat Ye'or (6) Bill Corden (4) Bradley Betters (1) Brex I Teer (9) Brian of London (32) Bruce Bawer (10) Carol Sebastian (1) Christina McIntosh (866) Christopher DeGroot (2) Conrad Black (713) Daniel Mallock (5) David Ashton (1) David J. Baldovin (3) David P. Gontar (7) David Solway (78) David Wemyss (1) Devdutta Maji (1) Dexter Van Zile (74) Dr. Michael Welner (3) E. B Samuel (1) Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff (1) Emmet Scott (1) Eric Rozenman (10) Esmerelda Weatherwax (10018) Fergus Downie (23) Fred Leder (1) Friedrich Hansen (7) G. Murphy Donovan (76) G. Tod Slone (1) Gary Fouse (177) Geert Wilders (13) Geoffrey Botkin (1) Geoffrey Clarfield (341) George Rojas (1) Hannah Rubenstein (3) Hesham Shehab and Anne-Christine Hoff (1) Hossein Khorram (2) Howard Rotberg (29) Hugh Fitzgerald (21421) Ibn Warraq (10) Ilana Freedman (2) James Como (25) James Robbins (1) James Stevens Curl (2) Janet Charlesworth (1) Janice Fiamengo (1) jeffrey burghauser (2) Jenna Wright (1) Jerry Gordon (2521) Jerry Gordon and Lt. Gen. Abakar M. Abdallah (3) Jesse Sandoval (1) John Constantine (122) John Hajjar (6) John M. Joyce (394) John Rossomando (1) Jonathan Ferguson (1) Jonathan Hausman (4) Jordan Cope (1) Joseph S. Spoerl (10) Kenneth Francis (2) Kenneth Hanson (1) Kenneth Lasson (1) Kenneth Timmerman (29) Lev Tsitrin (11) Lorna Salzman (9) Louis Rene Beres (37) Manda Zand Ervin (3) Marc Epstein (9) Mark Anthony Signorelli (11) Mark Durie (7) Mark Zaslav (1) Mary Jackson (5065) Matthew Hausman (49) Matthew Stewart (2) Michael Curtis (749) Michael Rechtenwald (53) Mordechai Nisan (2) Moshe Dann (1) NER (2592) New English Review Press (132) Nidra Poller (73) Nikos A. Salingaros (1) Nonie Darwish (10) Norman Berdichevsky (86) Paul Oakley (1) Paul Weston (5) Paula Boddington (1) Peter McGregor (1) Peter McLoughlin (1) Philip Blake (1) Phyllis Chesler (205) Rebecca Bynum (7241) Reg Green (16) Richard Butrick (24) Richard Kostelanetz (16) Richard L. Benkin (21) Richard L. Cravatts (7) Richard L. Rubenstein (44) Robert Harris (85) Sally Ross (36) Sam Bluefarb (1) Sam Westrop (1) Samuel Chamberlain (2) Sha’i ben-Tekoa (1) Springtime for Snowflakes (4) Stacey McKenna (1) Stephen Schecter (1) Steve Hecht (32) Ted Belman (8) The Law (90) Theodore Dalrymple (952) Thomas J. Scheff (6) Thomas Ország-Land (3) Tom Harb (4) Tyler Curtis (1) Walid Phares (32) Winfield Myers (1) z - all below inactive (7) z - Ares Demertzis (2) z - Andrew Bostom (74) z - Andy McCarthy (536) z - Artemis Gordon Glidden (881) z - DL Adams (21) z - John Derbyshire (1013) z - Marisol Seibold (26) z - Mark Butterworth (49) z- Robert Bove (1189) zz - Ali Sina (2)
clear
Site Archive