In Dog Years 

Jernee: back from the Groomer’s, about to head to the park for a walk.

I prepare for life as it comes knowing that I have a companion who has been steadfast for ten years. I enjoy peace and quiet and am mostly calm and my surefire supposed “Yapper Mixed Breed” is calm too. Anything one can think of to want in a pet, Jernee is it. She hangs at my heels, my shadow, tracing my steps. I’m severely anemic. I have been for years. Separate from that, I’m one dubbed as “a carrier for sickle-cell anemia”. I.e., I have the trait.

I do not plan on having children, so worrying myself silly about my mate’s health is not a concern. Not in that realm. Plus, there’s no mate. Bloodwork is a normal part of my life; having it drawn every three to six months has been my normal for the last eleven years. If ever I change physicians (which is rare), my medical records accompany me. There’s a lot of history to report and I make certain the new physician is “in the know”. I lack the essentials needed to maintain normal levels of iron and ferritin. At one point, specialists thought I was bleeding out. I had several procedures done to search for the bleed in question. When they could not locate it, they wanted to refer me to yet another specialist, one well-versed in hematology. Just a head’s up, telling someone you believe something is wrong with their blood is a frightening thing to hear.

I was younger and a bit more of a spitfire then, so I told my Gastroenterologist that I was done with all the testing. I felt like a guinea pig, like someone to poke and prod until a resolution presented itself. I wanted a normal life. One with no needles, research, procedures, etc. But now my body still isn’t producing enough iron on its own. My MCV level is almost always at least four points lower than the norm and my iron and ferritin levels struggle to make it just over the normal range. If I do not take my iron pills and eat the appropriate foods, those levels drop significantly.

Jernee is my little helper. Years ago, I would be so fatigued, I’d nearly pass out. Prone to letting me know when I needed rest, Jernee would hover near me without fail. She was like an alert. Nowadays, she follows me around more than she has before. It makes me believe that something is off-kilter. My next appointment for bloodwork and a checkup is at the end of July. I feel great. I do not feel odd, fatigued, nor do I feel as if I am lacking anything. But, Jernee is never wrong. She senses things well before their reality shapes in front of me.

I will not worry, though. I am doing what I should and I am also staying out of the heat when it is far too hot. Staying hydrated is important too. “By the book”, when you live with an illness and you want to be compliant, that phrase and implementing it, is key. “By the book”. As the dog years pile on, I am living my life knowing that not only do I have my health in good hands, Jernee takes it into account too.



Fading Away/Courtesy of Kimran Farooq–DeviantArt

Strength is uncommon
It manifests in
Presumptuous ways, claiming
To feed your tortured soul

Yet you lose inches
Of a dying heart
To an ill-fated diagnosis
That the world’s most
Renown devotees of medicine
Pencil in on a chart

You become the medical
Instead of a human being
You become the thing
Before them, but they
Still think you are alive.

You haven’t been
In years.

The Glory of the Forgotten

Courtesy of Pinterest

She is sitting in a pale, dust-ridden chair, rocking herself to obtain a deeper sense of calm. Her Primary Care Physician believes she is showing signs of Bipolar Disorder. She wants to refer her to a therapist, someone she trusts. The air in the room is thick with guilt. A faulty door swings open and a nurse in tattered scrubs alerts the doctor to her next patient who has been waiting for fifteen minutes. 

“Danielle, I have to go. I have another patient waiting. I will call Dr. Dominguez myself and schedule a consultation for you. Are Fridays still best?”

But, Danielle is drowning.  The rocking chair is now a carousel and she cannot halt the spinning. There is no sound. The muffled words of Dr. Norman attack her ears but leave no depth. She is trapped within herself, bracing for glory that does not come. 

“Danielle?! Are Fridays still best for you?”

“Yes.  I’m sorry, Dr. Norman. I didn’t hear you. I was…”

“I know, you were not here. *sighs* We will get you better in due time. I will call Dr. Dominguez this evening. Make a follow up appointment with Clara at  the checkout desk for three months. I want to check your iron and ferritin levels at that time. And… your weight.”

Danielle shifts on the plastic bed in the paper thin gown. She gathers her things one by one and returns her outfit to her body. Facing the world is never easy. At least today, someone listened. 

Someone finally listened. 

The “Dirty Low Down”


Courtesy of Zeven Design

He does not understand
That pain is not a button. 
Turning it off is a wish

I would love to see come true.

The depth of things
For people not dealing with them
Is often a place where shadows hide

And if shadows are lurking, 
They avoid those places.
Who wants a creepy shadow
Following them

“Can’t you just take
Something for it
And move on?”
I want to be crass and say
The bubbling of trite remarks
That fill my head like,
“Yes, because two pain pills
Will quickly make the
Gnawing pain in my leg
Disappear forever!” Or,
“Ooh, I never thought of that!
Yes! You are a genius! Thank you!”

But, I stand back
On what is left of
Young, strong legs
, and I say,
“There is no instacure. 

What I take today, I
Will have to take tomorrow
And the next day and the next
And I am already addicted to
You, soooo.”

He walks away from
My rant.

For Christmas, my co-worker
Bought me an athletic shirt
That says, 
If only sarcasm
Burned calories.

I know that she does not know
That I need sarcasm in that place
In order to stay sane. 
It is a survival tactic. 
I lean into the bones
Of a shitty industry

That takes your money,
But stalls on paying your medical claims.

I am fighting for people
Who do not know me
For reasons they may never understand.

I am fighting the mammoths
Of a nation who profit
While posing as non-profit.

They take everything;
Your money.
Your time.
And, your health.
They still want more.

In the bloody business
Of making things work

For the advantageous, weakness
Is a sign of derailment
And you are liable
To cause an accident.
This is not allowed —
Not when there are many more
Lives to silently kill over time

As they gradually hike up
Premiums and blame
You for aging.

This is their gift to you —
Merry Christmas
And Happy New Year!
It is never going
To change.

Originally Published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.