Iroquois: Fourth Floor

I cannot
Bear the pain
I am numb with the pain
I cry out
Day and night
In the darkness
Nurse nurse nurse nurse nurse nurse nurse nurse nurse nurse nurse nurse
Every three seconds I cry out
Nurse nurse nurse come and help me please help me please help me
I need to use the bedpan
Mother I don’t want to make a mess
Mother help me
Mother I keep trying to hold it in
Mother I must not mess my panties
As around and around and around he goes
Pulling his wheelchair with his feet
Seeking a way out
Seeking a way out
Desperately seeking a way out
I am hungry but they will not feed me
They put food in front of me
Wait an hour
Then take it away
Saying I do not eat
I had a stroke!
I cannot get the fork to my mouth!
They take away the food
Saying I will not eat
They pushed us all in the room together
All the wheelchairs together
I couldn’t get my oxygen
No one was looking
No one would help
As my oxygen lay on the floor
My daughter lives just down the road
And comes to see me
Once a month
As I cry out for her every day
Every night
Every hour
My clothes
They dump rumpled in my drawer
Oh my pretty clothes
I used to look so nice
They have lost my glasses
But what does it matter
What does it matter
What does it matter
I am not a person
I have no history
No present
No feelings
No likes or dislikes or preferences or opinions or ideas or thoughts or
I used to be someone
Now I am no one
The pain!
The pain!
The pain!
Why isn’t there nice food
Why can’t we ever have fresh peaches
Sweet corn
Grapes from the arbor by the swings
Ooooooh make them stop
Putting me in front of the television
I don’t like the screamingscreamingscreaming
Nobody will move me
Nobody hears me
I can’t get up
Nobody will put me down
Is it still nighttime
Is it still nighttime
Is it still lifetime
I want to go
Go outside
Outside into the sun
No one will take me
Outside into the sun
No one will take me

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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2 Responses to Iroquois: Fourth Floor

  1. maieliiv says:

    Yes, that is exactly how it is everywhere. Well done. I will be sharing this. We are back in Toronto after our misadventures in Estonia. Husband hospitalized and had surgery for blood clot in leg. Then developed heart problems on way home. More later – still very jet lagged and anxious. Hugs to you Anne. Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2013 20:28:26 +0000 To:

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