Tuesday, 6 December 2011

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.


  1. Ahhhh, welcome back home, right were you belong. Where you will your have real food to eat, your own bed to sleep in, and the fragrance of your winter garden to breathe in. May you feel completely mended.


  3. Oh God Friko, how frightening this must have been, but thank goodness you are now at home and hopefully feeling much better. There is nothing like one's own bed in her own home.

  4. Quite a blend of fright and boredom, fatigue and tension. But at last, home again. Safe and . . . safe.

  5. I'm sorry that you had to go through this, Friko. It sounds so unpleasant but I'm glad you're well enough to return home. Welcome back. Stay a long while.

  6. Oh Friko - what a horror - the smell, the sounds, the light are too, too familiar. Why can't a hospital seem more like a place of haven/healing? I'm so glad you're home and able to write about the experience. I wish I could send you sun, warmth, ease.....

  7. "your limbs become attached to acronyms." Brilliant phrase, though but one of many. That you made poetry out of this is nothing short of remarkable. But then, you are that (remarkable, I mean). Now what I wish for you is no more of this for a while, please God. May you be free and clear to make beautiful poetry out of other, far more pleasurable experiences. Welcome home, and warm wishes for the holidays, dear Friko.

  8. You so accurately convey the YUCK of that situation. I feel out of sorts with you and alienated and agitated--and oh, so glad to be home again.

    Wow. There's so much going on in you, inn't there? All positive energies to you!

  9. I hope you are recovering nicely. Isn't it strange how you can come home from the hospital so tired when all you've done is sit in bed? They wear you out with the constant interuptions and poking. Be well.

  10. My heart sails on currents over the ocean to yours. :(

  11. What a fabulous description Friko. Brought back memories of being in hospital for four days with pneumonia. Glad you're back.

  12. So sorry you had this ordeal to bear Friko. How nice to be back in your home, by your river, with Benno and your DH. Take care of yourself.

  13. i hope that you continue to feel better friko...ugh being in the hospital is no fun...enjoy some real food and get some rest...

  14. I wondered if you ended up there. Thank heavens you are home again. And you have gifted me with a great word poem of the experience. Thank you.

  15. I could have written this post myself a couple of months ago after a midnight emergency run turned into a 4 day hospital stay. You described the experience perfectly.

    I am glad you are home!

  16. A Bonza description in the form of a poem of your dreadful experience, i bet my bottom dollar your glad to be home where you belong :-).

  17. Never any rest for someone while in the hospital...only being at home allows that and so glad to know you are back there with all the familiar comforts around you.

    Allow yourself this time to drift and flow with the hours...be well.

  18. What a blessed relief to be home! Big hug xoxo

  19. Wishing you every good thing you need and want to complete your healing...

  20. Only you could write such a descriptive piece on the hospital experience.

    I hope your healing is complete and that it happens quickly.

  21. How awful. So happy that you are home where you can rest with the comfort that familiar sights, sounds and smells convey.
    Wishing you speedy healing.

  22. the ending made me cry in relief-

    Do feel better my dear. It could be worse: you might be an American and have a big bill to pay besides!
    Enjoy your dear home and kin.

    Aloha from Waikiki

    Comfort Spiral

    > < } } ( ° >


    < ° ) } } > <


  23. Home , Beloved , Benno , homemade soup ... and peace .
    All the things the NHS can't provide .... but the best cure of all .

  24. Best wishes, Friko. There's no place like home.

  25. It sounds so awful, yet you describe it so wonderfully.... hope you are feeling better and all is OK!

  26. Your words totally describe a stay in the hospital!! I concur!!! So glad you are home now and sleeping in your own bed. With no tubes or beeps to disturb your rest. Ahhh!! Relief!
    Hugging you

  27. Not good - hope you are feeling better. Home and rest are good medicines.

    Doesn't such an experience make one's ordinary mundane existence a very desirable thing.

    Best wishes to you.

  28. Lord, I hate hospitals. I'm so sorry you had to endure one again! May the new meds do the trick and keep you snug and safe at home for the holidays.

  29. Friko, how good it is to learn that you are back home and can allow your remarkable senses to experience more pleasant stimulations than those that were delivered during your hospital stay.

    Your poem is remarkable.


  30. Welcome back and rest well. Even in your pain and discomfort, you write so well. I could almost taste the bitterness of the pills and the prick of all the needles, Friko. Here's to continued recovery and peace.

  31. what a scary tale you tell ... may you continue to feel better at home

  32. "Welcome home," the bells chime. You deserve a good rest and lots of comfort.

    This same thing just happened to my sister: 36 hours in hospital starting with chest pains. Her heart muscle was under stress.

    I'm relieved for both of you that it is not serious.

  33. Benno howled under his breath
    and wept canine tears while his
    Mum was away. They wouldn't let
    him come and see you to cover
    your face with doggy kisses.
    Most of us have spent those three'
    days in some medical center or
    other; how eloquently you navigate
    the hellish haze, that healer's maze.
    When your words really flow, as in
    this poetic piece, you put us at your
    side, in the room with you, in your
    garden or village. The immediacy
    of your writing amazes and thrills
    me; odd to thank you for sharing,
    but good writing deserves accolades.

  34. Thank you for bringing a beautiful poem back from this hellish excursion. May your dreams be cozy and red-cheeked.

  35. How awful, and how well expressed. So sorry that you had to go through this. Take care now and get well.

  36. Your words evoke the helpless feelings of uncertainty that accompanies such an experience. How blessed to return home. To peace. To familiarity.

    May the peace and love in your home continue to heal you.

  37. Im happy to know you are home safe and sound Friko, your poem desribed the feelings of the loss of power and choices one feels when in that position and its scarey for sure. sending you metaphorical Chicken Soup.

  38. A beautiful poem to mark a most unpleasant event. Relax now in the peace and security of your own home and stay well.

  39. ach, Du beschreibst alles so realistisch, lebendig, ich bin jetzt sprachlos, bedrückt... warum bist Du denn schon wieder im Krankenhaus gewesen?? Wäre ich dagewesen, hätte ich vielleicht etwas für Dich tun können ... und ich hätte Dich natürlich auch genervt... grüner Tee, reines vegetarisches, am besten veganes Essen, ein strenge Diät, kein Alkohol, frische Luft, viel Bewegung...ach, kurz und gut, bin nicht da, um zu nerven und von hier aus wünsche ich Dir einfach alles Gute!!!
    Freue mich, irgendwann von Dir zu hören.

  40. I hate to sound like a copycat, but I have had this experience twice myself, once with a heart attack another with a stroke and THEY don't know why. Still I stoked with all kinds of meds. I think they hope something will work, and so far it seems to have worked well enough.

    Happy to see you survived your latest episode of didcomfort and live to tell the tale. I like your tales, they seem very familiar. I also like the owl. Dianne

  41. I go through(almost cat-like) a whole nose twitching recognition period upon returning from hospital. But first, when I am inside of, I must admit to being Miss Malcontent Emerging. And such completely unwelcome intimacy. I am projecting.
    I am so very sorry, but so glad you are home. ~Mary

  42. Good for you to turn a frightening and unpleasant experience into such a fine piece of writing.

    And I'm so glad you're home.

  43. Well, I'm glad you are at least back home where you belong.

  44. Happy to read you are back home... Prayers for you to get well Friko.

  45. Take care, get well and we'll see you around again soon.

  46. Friko - you tell it so well - I felt that I was in that hospital with you! - Best wishes for a speedy recovery - Jane x

  47. Hospitals are necessary evils, to be avoided if possible, tolerated if not. There is nothing nicer than returning home, ridding the hospital smells, then relaxing. I do hope all continues to go well for you.

  48. I hope you are much much better. It sounds very scary and painful. Look after yourself.

  49. If I were not familiar with hospitals I would have said you were captured by aliens. Your relief at being home is palpable. I agree with Susan S. That you made poetry out of this is remarkable.

  50. Hi Friko - hope you are feeling much better now - only you could make poetry from such a trauma. Best wishes - Jo

  51. Dear Friko,
    I feel saddened that you had to go through all this. I so hope that you are better and that your energy has returned. You must have a great survival sense and much resilience.

    The words "until no trace of invalidity remains," which you used, so resounded within me. Being in the hospital, befuddled and fuzzy-minded and so much simply a bed occupant, does make me feel "invalid."

    You are such a gifted writer.


  52. Welcome back, and well done on finding the gold in the disinfectant.

  53. To rediscover you
    As we have done
    Laundered and bright
    Fresh from the claws of
    Discomfort and pain.

    Foolish black places
    All humanity purged
    From their detached souls
    Their purpose only clear
    When discharged into sunlight.

    PS So glad you are safe home!!

  54. haunting.

    glad upon your return to home. everything thinkable good for you.

  55. I'm glad your home safe again and hope that your condition isn't anything too serious. You do write well about your experience. Very eloquent. Take good care of yourself. XOX

  56. Hello:
    How beautifully expressed this is. You have captured so perfectly the panic of unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells that are so very much part of any hospital. And, always, the kindness of those who care for one when in such distressing and frightening circumstances.

    We are so sad to read that you have been unwell and have had a very worrying time, but are pleased that you are, at least, safely back in those familiar and comforting surroundings of your own home. Take the greatest care.

  57. Dear Friko, I'm so sorry that you had this scary episode. I'm glad that you feel better and are home again.

    You are such a talented writer. You've turned these horrible days into a wonderful poem.

    Stay well.


  58. I didn't even know you'd been in hospital, but when I read "the river murmurs sleepily, she's back again, she's home" I nearly wept with gratitude.

    I find it immensely comforting to think that our worlds take note of us, like the river, the night and the owls. You can rest, and they will watch.

  59. I soend far too much time in hospitals and can only endorse your view that it takes a brave person to survive. Glad you made it home intact.

    Best wishes Isabel

  60. well, if you were forced to count your blessings this once, you did a bang-up job of it. I'm grateful your on my must-read blog list :)


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