Academic journal article Ethics & Medicine

The Overlooked Test

Academic journal article Ethics & Medicine

The Overlooked Test

Article excerpt

With swift short steps, each one an inch-no more,

No less-crept Mary's withered rigid frame.

Her arms swung not, and as she neared the door,

She paused...then, shuffling, through the entry came.

"Please have a seat," said the neurologist.

"Let's have a scientific look at why

Your trembling fingers oscillate at rest,

Your decremental writing cramps awry."

With reflex hammer, tuning fork and pin,

The doctor tested cranial nerves and strength,

Coordination, plantar signs, and then

Precisely marked and measured each stride's length.

He quantified cogwheel rigidity

And mapped her sensory anatomy,

Then gauged her postural stahility

And analyzed her physiognomy.

He raised his brow, then closed his bag and spoke:

" 'Tis insufficient dopamine release

From your substantia nigra (not a stroke).

The diagnosis: Parkinson's disease."

Time stopped. Although the world to Mary froze,

Her thoughts still racing weighed what this might mean.

She thanked the doctor and did not disclose

Strong feelings welling up, her tear unseen.

Reaching for hope she turned from her appall.

"But Sir," she mentioned hesitatingly,

"You've skipped the most important test of all:

The one that shows the part within called me."

Convinced the doctor's final word was much

Too limited an explanation for

Her lonely ache within where none can touch,

She challenged him these questions to explore:

"Does individuality reduce

To neural dendrites' cytoplasmic flux? …

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