Skip to main content

Sport - A Poem on Frailty



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.

Sport 
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



Comments

Anonymous said…
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.
Dan Matlock said…
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.
Arden said…
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.

Popular posts from this blog

Caring, and the Family Caregivers We Don’t See

Over lunch at a restaurant in Manhattan, my father and I talked about long-term care insurance and the emergence of senior centers and nursing homes across the U.S. that offer a variety of ethnic cuisines and cultural events, catering not only to a growing population of adults over 65, but also, to an increasingly diverse population of adults who call the U.S. their home. This conversation was different from many similar ones before it – we weren’t talking about my research; we were talking about our own lives.
My parents immigrated to the U.S. in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, following their parents’ advice on professional opportunities that seemed unimaginable in India at the time. Although they considered moving back soon after to care for their aging parents and to raise children, they ultimately decided to stay in the U.S. As I chronicled earlier, my paternal grandparents lived with us until I completed middle school, at which point they returned to India and lived with my mater…

Length of Stay in Nursing Homes at the End of Life

One out of every four of us will die while residing in a nursing home. For most of us, that stay in a nursing home will be brief, although this may depend upon social and demographic variables like our gender, net worth, and marital status. These are the conclusions of an important new study published in JAGS by Kelly and colleagues (many of whom are geripal contributors, including Alex Smith and Ken Covinsky).

The study authors used data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) to describe the lengths of stay of older adults who resided in nursing homes at the end of life. What they found was that out of the 8,433 study participants who died between 1992 and 2006, 27.3% of resided in a nursing home prior to their death. Most of these patients (70%) actually died in the nursing home without being transferred to another setting like a hospital.

 The length of stay data were striking:

the median length of stay in a nursing home before death was 5 months the average length of stay was l…

Top 25 Studies in Hospice and Palliative Care (#HPMtop25)

by: Kara Bishoff (@kara_bischoff )

Back in 2015 we wrote a post asking for input on what articles should belong on a list of the top 25 articles in hospice and palliative care.   We decided to focus on hospice palliative care studies and trials - as opposed to review articles, consensus statements and opinion pieces.

Here’s what we came up with. It was hard to pick just 25! We highly prioritized clinical utility and tried to achieve diversity & balance. Many others are worthy of inclusion. Take a look and let us know if you have suggested changes for next year.

Module 1: Symptom Management
Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Oral Docusate in the Management of Constipation in Hospice Patients. Tarumi Y et al. JPSM, 2013.Once-Daily Opioids for Chronic Dyspnea: A Dose Increment and Pharmacovigilance Study. Currow DC et al. JPSM, 2011.Effect of palliative oxygen versus room air in relief of breathlessness in patients with refractory dyspnoea: a double-blind, randomise…