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Respect, Compassion and Empathy in Elder Care

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The Heart Of The Matter

What Do You See?

What do you see, nurse what do you see?
Are you thinking when you look at me-?
A crabby old woman, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit with faraway eyes?

Who dribbles her food and makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice - “I do wish you’d try”

Who seem not to notice the things that you do,
And forever is losing a stocking or shoe.

Who resisting or not lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill,
Is that what you’re thinking, is that what you see?
When you open your eyes nurse…You’re not looking at me

I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still
As I move at your bidding, eat at your will…
I’m a small child of ten with a father and mother
Brothers and sisters, who love one another: a young girl of sixteen
With wings on her feet…dreaming that soon a love she will meet:
A bride at twenty, my heart gives a leap…
Remembering the vows I promised to keep
At twenty five now I have young of my own
Who need me to build a secure, happy home

A woman of thirty, my young now grow fast,
Bound together with ties that should last.
At forty, my young sons have grown and gone, but
My man’s beside me to see I don’t mourn

At fifty once more babies play round my knee-
Again we know children, my loved one and me
Dark days are upon me…my husband is dead
I look at the future, I shudder with dread…
My young are all rearing young of their own,
And I think of the years and the love that I’ve known

I’m an old woman now and nature is cruel.
Tis her jest to make old age look like a fool
The body, it crumbles, grave and vigor depart…
There is a stone where I once had a heart

But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells,
And now again my bitter heart swells

I remember the joys, I remember the pain
And I’m loving and living life over again
I think of the years, all too few, gone too fast
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last

So open your eyes, nurse, open and see
Not a crabby old woman,
Look closer…SEE ME!

Author: Geriatric patient of Ashlude Hospital/London England
May this encourage you and your children to spend more time with these special people who are often forgotten.