Not-Not Disease

I just read a poem over at the med lit magazine Pulse: Voices from the Heart of Medicine, that brought to mind that elusive state of not-not. Family physician Barry Shaver wrote a beautiful poem dealing with indeterminacy. I cut and paste below.

Schroedinger’s CT.


To be
And not to be…
May not be
So bad

Without this scan
We won’t know
If you’re living
Like the rest of us
Or dying
On a more compressed schedule

Once it’s done
You’ll be a zero or a one

Are you sure you want to know?





Dr Shaver could have renamed that moment after concern and before confirmation: not-not disease.

It may be disease. It may not be. 

It is neither and both at once.

Sickness and health. Doom and delight. 

Opposite states of being–being AND not being–compressed into one.


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