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Pectoriloquy |

Miss Martin’s Enema FREE TO VIEW

Elizabeth Raby
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Editor’s Note: The poet writes: “I was an unwilling witness to the events described in the poem. It all took place some years ago. I hope it would not happen again.” She has written six collections of poetry.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (http://www.chestpubs.org/site/misc/reprints.xhtml).


© 2011 American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 2011;140(2):554. doi:10.1378/chest.10-1844
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Miss Martin was an old lady, very ill,
her tongue slowed by the stroke.
The Young Doctor, already in high
demand, was an important man.
The RN, not permitted to request,
told Miss Martin to ask the doctor.
The Practical Nurse could only follow
directions on the chart.
The Nurse’s Aide said, “It’s terrible
to treat a body so.”
Miss Martin was an old lady, very ill,
her tongue slowed by the stroke.
The Doctor wore a fine gray suit, said,
“You’re doing fine Jean,” and hurried on.
Miss Martin stuttered disagreement
to the RN who wondered, “Why
didn’t you ask the Doctor?”
The Practical Nurse said “It’s not on the chart.”
The Nurse’s Aide said “I’m already in trouble
for speaking out of turn.”
Miss Martin was an old lady, very ill,
her tongue slowed by the stroke.
The Doctor, in a hurry, fiddled with his tie
of heavy silk, assured Jean, “You’re looking swell.”
Miss Martin cried to the RN that she was swollen.
The Practical Nurse said, “Nothing’s on the chart.”
The Nurse’s Aide said “What is the matter with them all?”
Miss Martin was an old lady, very ill,
her tongue slowed by the stroke.
The doctor exclaimed, “It’s been ten days,
how can this be?” The RN gave directions
to the Practical Nurse. The Practical Nurse
left instructions for the Nurse’s Aide.
The Nurse’s Aide and Miss Martin
struggled through the night.


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