Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Patients' Rights

I stare across
the waiting room
of the juvenile
psychiatric inpatient
treatment center

at a framed document
screwed to the wall
printed in
English and Spanish
“Patients’ Rights.”

I mindlessly scan
the litany of legalese
printed in the teeniest
columns of
blurry gray

reassuring me of
my 14 year-old
daughter’s rights

as she is admitted
for a 72 hour observation
as she’s been deemed
a suicide risk.

I look at the document
realizing its intent
is to empower,

but all it’s doing right now
is reminding me
of how little control
I have in this situation.

[Posted for #openlinknight at - where words and love are shared in great abundance.]


  1. fug. i have sat right there...i have taken kids...not my own but ones i cared for deeply...and stared at the same sign...a hard place to be...but sometimes where they need to be to keep them safe....all too real man.

  2. Thanks, bro. This actually happened, but thankfully, it was three years ago. This week she turns 17. Thankfully, Mosk

    1. whew. glad it is in your does get better...a kid i used to have to take about every 6 months is 2 years clear of his last visit as well...

  3. oh mosk... that is so tough... will pray for you and your daughter...and sending a thick, firm hug your way...

  4. yikes, Mosk. those places are ironic in so many ways. they sometimes seem the last place you would go to look to get well... or to be safe. i'm sorry you had to go through this. glad you are able to share and, hopefully, in sharing, to sublimate some of those memories.

  5. I can't imagine much that would be more terrifying than the situation described in your poem. I would like to see patients and those who love them have the simple right to peace of mind.

  6. Tough situation Mosk ~ I have a 14 yr old daughter & it's a tight balance in parenting her~

  7. Wow, that's so frightening. Dealing with your children's illnesses is a frightening part of parenthood. You have so little control in this sort of situation.

  8. I was glad I read your comment on the time that have elapsed since.. such a tough sitution.. I remember when I had a friend from work calling me in the evening saying he was about to kill himself...

  9. Mosk I'm glad to hear it's behind you now. Teenagers, they have a lot going on in their minds. I hope she is fine.

    This is an interesting poem. One can feel the of the moment in it. Well done.

    Best. <3

  10. What a difficult situation to be in, Mosk!! I am glad this was 3 years ago & hope she is doing better today.

  11. It is good to know that your daughter is now turning 17 and hopefully these painful years are behind her. Notices in hospitals do not always feel helpful to those who read them.

  12. I am glad you've taken something concrete and made it poetic. Sometimes there must come poetic justice in the world. We understand things better contextualize they way you have with this poem. It's more than a poem, it's personal. That's the best poetry.

  13. Whoa.. difficult to say the least... I'm glad to see this is behind you.. but from the near distance you've written a powerful scene.

  14. We spend our lives as parents trying to protect our children, even when life seems to be spinning out of control around us. My son went through some things I never did, or even dreamed of as a child. It is good to be able to look back and realize, "Yeah, we got through that." Hoping that all is well in your world, and your daughter has found peace from that which caused such sadness and pain in that time past.

  15. I'm so glad to see that this time in your life has passed, but your emotions are still strong and powerful, ringing out through your words. Pure poetry.

  16. Anonymous11:50 PM

    relieved that incident is in the past, though I'm guessing you're still feeling unsettled. there's an immediacy to your observations that's palpable and gut-wrenching. Good luck ~

  17. This is powerful for being plainly written - nothing to blunt or distract. Thank you for sharing.

  18. Urgh, what a tough moment. Thank you for being willing to share it with us. You convey so well that feeling of powerlessness. Bitter irony.
    Fingers crossed for the future.

  19. This is so moving. It hits close to home.
    Thank you for sharing pieces of you.
    ;) smiles

  20. Such a wonderfully stark & honest poem. Powerlessness is itself such a powerful feeling.

    Though, I must point out, if you look a bit closer... patients pretty much have no rights whatsoever.

  21. Ugh. A powerfully moving poem.

  22. I am happy this happened in the past and that she is fine. Happy Birthday to her.