Touch: The Journal of Healing



Instructions on Shortness of Breathing

    by Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas

The onset of relief and ease of breathing

should occur in minutes and will persist

for several hours.

While you slumber through your velvet

dreams, no longer jaundiced, I’ll slip within

imaginings, assist the wooziness and ease

the breathing, and if you rise before you wake

I will forgive you; the onset of relief.

Pray for me, for these will be tortuous days.

There’s no lessening this disease,

a rare degenerative disorder. The rate

of progression differs. Not every patient

experiences these symptoms.

There’s remission for your illness supplied

by hospice vials in amber shades. I’ve asked

politely for a pardon from the Sun, that you

might rest awhile before the moonlight comes

to bathe you in satin sheets and ease

the grace of sleeping.

Pray for me, for these will be tortuous days

During the tube's placing, gagging may occur–

water is given while the patient swallows.

Great care must be taken to ensure

that it has not passed through the windpipe

and down into the lungs.

I will rest gladiolas in a vase of water

by your bed. Great care will be given

to ensure ampoules are ready when the nurse

arrives with morphine, though I will not be

prepared for what may follow–

Pray for me, for these will be tortuous days.

© 2012  Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas

Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas is a six-time Pushcart nominee and Best of the Net nominee.  She has authored eight chapbooks along with her latest full-length collection of poems: Epistemology of an Odd Girl, newly released from March Street Press.  She is a recent winner of the Red Ochre Press Chapbook competition for her manuscript “Before I Go to Sleep.”  According to family lore, she is a direct descendent of Robert Louis Stevenson.

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Touch: The Journal of Healing

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