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The Stubborn One
There once was a patient from Yonkers
Who loved to drive our staff bonkers
He always threatened leaving
Causing his wife's grieving
His cancer she hopes he conquers
He did not let us draw morning labs
And often threw at us verbal jabs
Eventually he'd consent
We were shocked he'd relent
Of course we knew he was keeping tabs
We really urged him to stick around
To get his meds to be safe and sound
But if he did not stay
There's not more we could say
He was extremely stubborn we found
When his white cells began climbing up
He wanted some wine to have a cup
He was high as a kite
The news was out of sight
He became as gentle as a pup
He listened to everything said?
Since he was not going to be dead?
His discharge was coming
He began succumbing
His stubborn tendencies he had shed
You see the Stubborn One is no more
He is a gentle man to the core
But when death seems so near
And there is palpable fear
Our dear Stubborn One comes to the fore
AMIR STEINBERG, MD, FACP, is Assistant Professor of Medicine at Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, in the hematologic malignancies/stem cell transplantation group in the division of hematology-oncology. He notes that this poem, a limerick, was inspired by interactions with a patient undergoing a stem cell transplant.