Saturday, April 16, 2011

I love this poem from today's Poem-A-Day. What humor, and music! The title, of course, from Shakespeare. And the poem itself a wonderful modern commentary on the sonnet it references. Such good medicine.

My love is as a fever, longing still
by Christopher Bursk

It didn't take a Harvard Medical School degree
to detect you and I were not lovers destined to wed
but two viruses doing their best to infect each other,
two fevers that'd spread, different symptoms of the same
sickness. Past cure I am, now reason is past care.
Did I really wish to die? The doctor dismissed me
with the professional ease with which one might swat a fly,
as if for the fly's own good. So what
if you loved me more intimately than anyone ever would?
A cancer cell could say that of any body
it refused to let go. Once the heart was infected,
how could it be corrected? So what was I waiting for?
The truth is, the doctor smiled,
the microbe adores the flesh it's dating.


from The Infatuations and Infidelities of Pronouns, published by Bright Hill Press.


I was searching again for the ICD-9 code for "second hand tobacco smoke exposure" the other day in clinic. I've been frustrated that I can never find it--only an "E code. I had a spare moment and googled it, and found out the reason why the code is so hard to find: The tobacco industry has SUED to prevent this code from being established! Can you believe it?! The powerful tobacco lobby can just say a problem doesn't exist, and prevent doctors from coding it in patient's medical records, just because they have the money and the lawyers. I was incensed. Read more about the evil being done by Phillip Morris here:

A new medical diagnostic code for secondhand smoke exposure became available in 1994, but as of 2004 it remained an invalid entry on a common medical form. Soon after the code appeared, Philip Morris hired a Washington consultant to influence the governmental process for creating and using medical codes. Tobacco industry documents reveal that Philip Morris budgeted more than $2 million for this "ICD-9 Project." Tactics to prevent adoption of the new code included third-party lobbying, Paperwork Reduction Act challenges, and backing an alternative coding arrangement. Philip Morris’s reaction reveals the importance of policy decisions related to data collection and paperwork.

It looks like the code is being set to be included in the new ICD-10 when it comes out. Watch for the tobacco lobby to increase their attacks (and line the pockets of many lawyers).


T. Clear said...

LOVE the poem. My current theme ;)

Peter said...

T : art imitating life?

Pamela said...

Looks like this will be the new E-Code for DSM-10: Z58.83.64.

Z codes--factors influencing health status. I'd say so! "



Peter said...

Hi Pamela: I wish it we a regular code. We can't bill for or track E or Z codes very well. It sort of gives the tobacco companies a pass, in my opinion.

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