The Elderly-What do you see?

  1. What do you see?

    "What do you, nurses, what do you see?
    What are you thinking when looking 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 seems not to notice the things that you do,
    And forever is losing a stocking or shoe.

    Is that what you're thinking?
    Is that what you see?
    Then, open your eyes . . .
    you're not looking at me.

    I'll tell you who I am, as I sit here so still,
    as I do your bidding, as I eat (at) your will.
    I'm a small child of 10 with a father and mother,
    brothers and sisters who love one another.

    A young girl of 16 with wings on her feet,
    dreaming that soon now a lover she'll meet.
    A bird soon at 20, my heart gives a leap,
    remembering the vows (that) I promised to keep.

    At 25 now, I have young of my own,
    who need me to build a secure, happy home.
    A woman of 30, my young . . . grows fast,
    bound to each other with ties that should last.

    At 40, my young sons have grown and are gone,
    but my man's beside me to see I don't mourn.
    At 50, 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 to the future, I shudder with dread.
    For my young are all rearing (the) young of their own,
    and I think of the years and the love I have 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; grace and vigor depart.
    There (now is) a stone where I once had a heart.

    But inside this old carcass, a young girl still dwells,
    and now and again, my heart (truly) swells.
    I remember the joy, 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, nurses, and see . . .
    Not a crabby old woman, look closer, see me."

    -Author Unknown-or-Is She-
  2. Visit betts profile page

    About betts

    Joined: Oct '01; Posts: 1,024; Likes: 20
    Nursing Mgmt.


  3. by   morghan
    This is absolutely wonderful!!! I work on a Geriatric
    Psychiatry Unit, and love working with the old old. They have
    so much wisdom and we can learn so much if we just listen!

    Thanks, I'm going to print this page and take it to work
  4. by   betts
    Psych RN

    I wouldn't work anywhere else myself and have been in LTC for 24years. I feel that all in the profession of caring for the elderly should read this.
    I've remembered this for many years, each and every day when I go to work, I SEE!
  5. by   P_RN
    In our older folks I see living, breathing history.

    I see courage, I see past pain conquered.

    I see what time and life have to deliver and the many things that these wonderful people have gone through.

    I see in the way that the old ones are treated, the way that I will be treated, and I want to believe that as I do, so shall be done to me.

    I guess you can tell, I love my old ones.
  6. by   betts
    Great Opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.
    Sally Koch

    They do bring us happiness and much wisdom. I could sit for hours, time willing,and listen too the wonderful stories told.
  7. by   night owl
    I see myself in 30 or 40 a nursing home, sitting in a geri chair. All alone. No one taking the time to sit with me to find out what I am all about...I try to give the best care and give as much time to my oldsters as possible. I love em all. To alot of them, we are their family! Yet we have so much to learn from them. I know I'll be grateful if someone will even notice me sitting in that geri chair. When I can leave them with a smile on their face, and hearing them say, "I feel better now thanks to you," I know I've made a difference in their lives, even if it was just for a few minutes.
  8. by   betts
    Night Owl,

    We have too believe that their will be those like us and we won't be discarded.
  9. by   nur20
    Thanks, betts, i have been looking for this poem for years. The last time i saw it was in nursing school. I'll save it this time