Touch: The Journal of Healing



Diagnosis: TMI

    by Arlene L. Mandell

Dateline: Santa Rosa, CA, 4:39 a.m.

My newly lasered left eye weeps

after the surgeon removed debris

from under my cornea. He said

I’m one of his most educated

patients about medical matters

though often I’m just plain terrified.

This morning I’m staring at a series

of graphs–blue, red, purple lines–

trending up or down, representing

my life.  I study the charts

to see how much I deviate

from desired standards.

At 71, I’m surrounded by people

my age with every kind of life-

threatening condition-- a spot on a lung

or a lump in a breast, this cousin

diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

that one with Parkinson’s.

When I’m not terrified, I feel fine

stirring hearty soups, tossing

tennis balls to Ringo, working on

a new collage.  Sometimes I wish

I didn’t know how to read.

© 2012  Arlene L. Mandell

Arlene L. Mandell, a retired English professor, was formerly on the staff of Good Housekeeping magazine where she wrote health and medical articles.  She has published more than 500 poems, essays and short stories in newspapers and literary journals, including The New York Times, Tiny Lights and Wild Violet.  A recent venture is an echapbook, Scenes from My Life on Hemlock Street: A Brooklyn Memoir, set in the 1940s and 50’s.

Copyright © 2012

Touch: The Journal of Healing

All rights reserved.