Occupational Hazards

November 3, 2012
Richard M. Berlin, MD

Volume 29, Issue 11

Needle sticks and night call, Hep B burrowing skin, bad smells, deep wounds, death, dying, dead wood...

Needle sticks and night call,

Hep B burrowing skin,

bad smells, deep wounds,

death, dying, dead wood

at committee meetings,

downward mobility,

delinquent dictations,

Medicare audits, M&M

conference, ombudsmen,

bureaucrats, fucking

bureaucrats, disease advocates

stretching my day

an hour past dark-

but these are nothing

compared to the dismal,

distorted lens

Medicine clamps on

our eyes, the vision

of life as disaster-

motorcycles as donor devices,

rock music and hearing loss,

sunshine and skin cancer,

deer and Lyme disease,

ice cream and steak

just preludes to the CCU.

And sex, well, pick your

nightmare from the list

of pleasures.

So what do I do?

Fish oil and aspirin,

sunscreen, a bicycle

helmet, buckle my seat belt,

and when I relax enough

to forget all the dangers

I ride my mountain bike

down a rocky trail,

maybe crank the volume

on my guitar, turn up

the distortion, or just

sit on a teak bench

beside the garden

to watch crows gather

in the branches of an old oak

and listen to alarm calls

that have nothing to do

with me.