Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Three Days In An NHS Hospital

image borrowed from bing

Three Days In An NHS Hospital

A vaguely anaesthetic smell,
cold, clinical, unpleasantly obtrusive,
brought by two burly men,
dark blue and hearty, into your home;
machines which blip and click
clutter your floor.
As you invited them, you must allow them
to remove you to the place
where bright lights cut into your eyes,
the scarlet of your jumper flagging up
the immaculate wasteland of A&E.
Blue men deposit you and leave,
turn in the doorway
to smile good wishes.

Colours come and hover over you,
dark blues and light blues,
greens and pale greens, with now and then
a flash of multicolour under white.
Questions need answers,
your limbs become attached to acronyms,
needles prick your skin.
A new colour is added,
livid bruises appear on arms and hands.
A dish of bitter tasting medicines
is held for you to swallow,
involuntary spasms turn a pill into a missile.
Take your time, the dark blue says,
if you can bear it, you may
crunch them into smaller fragments.

A bed is readied, no going home
for you tonight,
no sleep, no rest.
Into your nightgown now,
the only colour grey,
low lights illuminating shadows,
and questions without end.
And so a day of tedium begins,
a second day to follow.
Wheeled here and there,
the blues and greens control the day,
your movement is curtailed
by tubes and bleeping robots.
There's no escape from cries and moans,
from pointless conversations
and strips of neon lighting overhead.

The problem solves itself.
The storm which buffeted your chest has eased.
It has done so before and no doubt will again.

The men in suits appear,
the demi-gods of theatre and ward,
no doctors they,
just call me Mister Slicer,
Cutter or Consultant.
Their diagnosis is that they don't have one.
We know the problem well, they say,
although we still don't know
which trigger will unleash it.
We'll change your medication,
a new regime to manage it might work.
Exhausted now from lack of sleep
you nod agreement, what else is there to do.
You're grateful for their efforts.
Soon you'll be free to go.
They want your bed for someone
worse off than yourself.

It takes a very sick man to survive
a stay in hospital intact.
Relief at being discharged
almost makes you weep.
Your kitchen table offers bread and soup;
each stitch of clothing tainted
by the smell of healing is discarded;
you let a cascade of hot water
cleanse your pores, until no trace
of invalidity remains.
Outside your bedroom window
the night is dark and still,
the river murmurs sleepily,
she's back again, she's home.
The tawny owls agree, one calls another
all the way across the valley
with the good news, it's done,
she's home and in her bed, asleep.

Ursula White

aka: Friko

Posted over on her site Friko's World

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