Friday, July 6, 2012


Last month I visited my internist and was given a paper on heavy, green card stock. I recognized it immediately because each of our residents have a completed POLST form in their documentation. But this must be for my mother, not me. I was confused why the doctor’s assistant was giving it to me. We talked and I realized how enjoying a 97 year old parent has lulled me into thinking that I have miles to go before I sleep.

Last year I re-wrote Loveliest of Trees by A. E. Houseman. My apologies to Houseman who wrote:

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

My second stanza hobbles along thus:

Now, of my three score years and ten,
sixty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs three score,
it doesn’t leave me many more.

If you call me I’ll even sing it for you, complete with disgusting sound effects.  And if you’ve convinced yourself you’re younger than Housman who passed in 1936, here is the web site for POLST, Physicians Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment. Just look at it. For your parent of course.

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