Blind Vinton Man Recites Poems For Hospital Staff

By Addison Speck, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Eighty-two-year-old Bill Reed is stealing hearts at Mercy Medical Center this week. He, along with hundreds of other Eastern Iowans, spent Thanksgiving in a hospital bed.

But, Reed has been reciting poems to those who stop in his room all week, making staff want to stop back by. "I don't know he just caught my heart I guess," said Becky Prier, a nurse at Mercy Medical Center.

"This morning when I didn't have him on my assignment I was like dang it," added Melisa Fitch, another nurse at the hospital.

Reed lost his vision back in his early 60's from glaucoma. His sight may be gone, but his passion for life is still crystal clear. Nurses describe Reed as a patient who reminds them why they do what they do.

The poems Reed shares - he wrote decades ago. One of his favorite to share to hospital staff is called "Doctors and Nurses".

"Doctors and nurses like beautiful verses, the kind God surely would pick," Reed recited, "angels sent from above, for someone to love, they help heal and care for the sick."

Years ago, Reed also wrote a poem about camping, which was one of his favorite activities for many years. "Have you ever been camping early in the morning? The peaceful kind of quietness creeps up without a warning," Reed recited.

"The girls said did you write that off the top of your head? I said no I got it from the bottom of my heart, and I mean it," said Reed.

If you don't think Reed speaks from the heart, just ask him about his wife of 60 years. "I thank God for giving me my wife, she died four months ago. I feel like God did give me my wife to take care of and I just hope I did a good job," he said.

Reed wrote a poem for her too when she was pregnant many years ago. "You look into the mirror and think you look just like a pig, but those of us who love you don't really think you look so big," he recited.

The Vinton man said his poems are just about what many others feel, he just happened to write it down many years ago. "I guess my technique is I write things that I feel," he said. Reed said his father would tell him poems when he was younger.

Reed also takes time to appreciate those he considers angels on earth, like doctors and nurses. "If you have a flat tire and you break down on the highway and somebody stopped to help you, I feel like that is one of God's earth angels," Reed said.

While many would be bummed to spend the holiday in a hospital room, Reed makes the best of the situation. "How could a guy want to go home with all this attention?," Reed said to two nurses in the room, "I don't even have to get up to go the bathroom." Reed is thankful he's just around for one more.
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