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Reprinted from Confidence in a Can, a former site that provided low cost pre-formatted workbooks for persons in the health care field.    States the author,  Ann McMillan, it was "written from my perspective of how a nursing staff may feel, after a long day." 

It's Not My Fault You're Old

When you start to lose your patience, and you'd really like to scream,
"Will you stop your silly prattle, and just do as you are told!
It's not my fault you're wet and it's not my fault you're old!"
Try to see beneath the wrinkles and behind the tortured form,
to the heart and soul and feelings of the one you're caring for.

Think then for a moment of the raisin and the prune.
Does their wrinkled skin affect their younger selves,
the sweet grape, and the plum,
or is it their appearance that makes you turn away
as you resist the urge to taste them anyway?

Have you never seen the beauty in a giant, gnarled oak?
Hesitate a moment and see it in its prime,
before exposure to wind and snow and drought and that old demon, time.
Has age made it less majestic or weaker at its root,
or is it so inspiring that it holds you nearly mute.

Imagine the diamond in appearance, much like a lump of coal.
Then watch as it's transformed into a shining, brilliant jewel.
With just a little patience, and a caring bit of toil,
it sits atop a ring of gold and speaks of someone loved and someone loyal.

Picture then an Ivy, once owned by a friend.
She seldom ever watered it, and it rarely saw the sun.
Its leaves are curled and brown--it seems near its end.
I must say it truly is an ugly thing my friend.

But, then suppose you saw it and realized its plight,
and took it home, and straight into your heart.
You spoke to it gently and watered it with care,
perhaps for weeks it sat there by your chair.

In its sunny little corner, the brown leaves fell away.
A more bedraggled, pathetic thing, I'm sure was never seen.
But with each new leaf you realized that you had done your share.
You gave it what it needed, and it responded to your care.

Perhaps something more basic then is needed, to help you realize
that when they're wet or tired or sick or cranky,
it's you that makes the difference to the patients delivered to your hand,
and all that's really needed is for you to understand.

She may old and withered like the raisin and the prune,
and he deformed with age like the old oak tree,
but, they're still alive and growing like the plant you watered some,
with all the fire and sparkle of a diamond in the sun. . .and
It's no one's fault they're old.

By Ann McMillan
President, Confidence in a Can

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