Johanna Shapiro, PhD

The modern Hospital Bed is
a thing of wonder
Maybe not in the same league
as the Sphinx – it lacks
this marvel’s ancient
awe and mystery

Nevertheless the Hospital Bed
with its crisp, clean, expertly
formatted fitted sheets,
its electrical ability to
move up down feet head,
is indeed a thing of wonder.

While a carefully crafted mannequin
might enhance the amazing properties
of the Hospital Bed,
to put a real patient
in such a contrivance is almost
always a complication

The patient has no appropriate sense
Of shock and awe
(the patient is usually shocked, but only because her puny
existence has taken a turn for the worse, and this kind
of shock is incompatible with true appreciation for
the Hospital Bed)

Furthermore, the patient
is disheveled, unkempt, oozing bodily fluids,
unwashed, unbathed, ill-mannered,
in a word loathsome and troublesome,
again the antithesis of
the Bed’s complete and utter purity

In the Bed, the patient lies
either huddled in pain or
flung about in haphazard exhaustion
both postures violating completely
the precision and composure of
the Hospital Bed

Under the circumstances, it is
easy to see why anyone in the
presence of the Bed would be tempted
to give its inhabitant a thorough
cleansing, improve her posture,
or kick her out entirely.

Medicine in general
without the patient
is so much simpler.