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Kate Burnside

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Accident & Emergency, 0300hrs
by Kate Burnside
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Rated "G" by the Author.
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Recent poems by Kate Burnside
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           >> View all 897

... bit more bother this end! Was an acute admission to a London hospital on Thursday night with breathing problems. Am doing OK back home, now, dosed up to the eyeballs on strong antibiotic. I will return! :)) xx


Bed-headed and chalk-faced,
I arrive at the glass partition
where the dressed-to-kill
Admissions Clerk has trouble
catching my name.

A quiet night on this gore-less side;
two duty doctors are kept busy
over in Accident while nurses here
swap jokes with a gangly, giggling
orderly as he washes down beds.

Double-wrapped later in
standard-issue gown, I weave
to the only in-use WC through
hovering police, their walkies
-hiss-talkies addressing no-one
in particular as they confront the
patched-up drunk with his crime.

Swishing past later in his pale blue
scrubs, the young doctor airily arrives.
His voice the country plum of a distant,
sun-streaked morning room, he tells
patients his name is Craig.

To the elderly, ranting Punjabi he cannot
make himself understood; it takes two nurses
to explain to Dorothy-with-dementia, next,
that biting is completely unacceptable.
Some abuse from Sol who swears and
rattles his drip-stand, demanding to be set free
to catch his plane back to Jordan.

And from another corner come
waves of shoulder-shaking sobbing:
male, Mediterranean. Inconsolable.

An hour later I get my turn.
Craig applies his stethoscope,
tells me to take deep breaths,
– “but not like that”, he stops me;
“try without all the gasping.”

Mine is the only bloodless chest
he’s been close enough to examine,
but still it’s impossible for him to hear
why it is I cannot breathe.

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Reviewed by Amor Sabor 11/4/2010
Amazing write...I love the visuals you applied here that made the experience all come alive before the reader. I understand the impression it all made but I really hate that part where breathing is difficult...thats the scariest part of any injury or illness.
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 10/18/2010
You bring the nighttime Emergency Ward scene to vivid, breathtaking life -- I have been there. Well done, Kate, get better, please?

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla. :(
Reviewed by Charlie 9/29/2010
Very vivid. There is something so alone and white about that last line, that I too am left breathless. You set it up perfectly. The body of the poem is noisy with activity, color, chaos. And then it all ends with your stark reality, and our minds jerk to a sudden stop-- great tactic! remember this for other poems and essays too when you really want your words to grab the reader. --Charlie
Reviewed by Barbara Terry 9/26/2010
Oh I can so relate to this Kate. Take a deep breath, another one, and yet another. Hmmm you're wheezing a little bit in there, and he orders a breathing treatment. Then he tells me that I am being sent to another hospital for a catheter procedure because they don't do that sort of thing here. So the ambulance arrives, and they put me on their gurney and put me in the ambulance. 123 miles from our ER to the ER I am going to. Flat on my back, with the head of the gurney raised a little. When I get to the hospital in the other city, I am told that my lunch was already ordered and that I am on a restricted diet. The nurses come in at the beginning of every shift to take my blood pressure, pulse and temperature, as well as ask me how I am feeling. I am under the influence of a narcotic pain killer so I say, slurring my words, that I am ok for now.

I hate doctors, and I hate hospitals, but I would dead if we didn't have them, so I guess they are a necessary evil that we cannot do without. Thank you for sharing Kate.

May the Lord Bless you, and those whom you love, and be with you always, and walk by your side. With love in my heart, joy to the world, peace on earth, & ((((((((((MANY WONDERFUL SISTERLY HUGGGGSSSS)))))))))), your little sister Barbie.
Reviewed by La Belle Rouge Poetess Of The Heart 9/24/2010
You write perfectly even when miserably ill. What an amazing landscape of the hospital you have painted with words. Kate my prayers are with you Darlin, get well, stay safe, you are loved.
Reviewed by A PAX 9/22/2010
oh Kate your words take me there with you, sorry for your troubles, I can relate being a asthmatic who has been frequently hospitalized. Your last stanza has a punch of irony.....aww sad...hope you are feeling better.......take care.......anita
Reviewed by Cryssa C 9/20/2010
Sorry to hear you are under the weather. On the few occasions I have visited ER rooms I have never seen anyone move very quickly... :( My all time favorite stupid remark heard from my bed in an ER room (where I sat for nearly 5 hours with broken bones that they never set... sigh...) was overhearing an old man come into the ER and tell the attending nurse that he couldn't breathe. A pallet had fallen on his chest a couple of days earlier and his wife had only that day convinced him to come into the ER. His breathing was very labored and he could hardly walk. The silly nurse asked him to WALK to the x-ray room! Even at my young age of 14 I remember thinking how incredibly insane it was to have this man who was struggling to breathe walk to the x-ray room several hallways away instead of using the wheelchair which sat conveniently against the wall...
Ah, what can I say... doctors are just really not my favorite people in the world when it comes to logic! (Honestly, I guess I should just take the "when it comes to logic" part of that sentence off...) :~)
Take care and feel better soon.

Reviewed by Andy Turner 9/20/2010
This bug is a righto bugger.
Time to take time out.
Keep breathing buddy boo!
In A n E one realises that the country is rather full up.
Glad to hear that the sound proof curtains work.

Stay in bed, sleepy head. And milk it! xx
Reviewed by Morgan Merriweather 9/20/2010
I should feel good to tell you your writing is great. But, I would rather tell you to be well!!!! -Morgan
Reviewed by Amber Moonstone 9/20/2010
I certainly can see nothing escapes those eyes...You must promise to listen to the doc, and do what he says. I agree with Jude, breathing in the salt air is amazing for the lungs. Envision your breath as white light healing energy..
I have been suffering from allergies these past three weeks. Our building has a very bad mold infestation. Unfortunately that is one thing I am allergic to...Breathing can be difficult under these circumstances, so I can feel what you are going through.

My dearest Kate, you must take good care of yourself..
I will send you healing energy and prayers.

Much peace, love and light,
Reviewed by Rose Rideout 9/20/2010
I hope you take care of yourself Kate, then you can return to us, we'll be waiting.

Newfie Hugs, Rose
Reviewed by Paul Judges 9/20/2010
I hope you are OK ! Well penned, Kate.
Reviewed by Dawn Anderson 9/19/2010
Kate, you have expressed this so well. I am sorry you haven't been feeling well, but am also happy that you are getting better. Prayers are sent your way..and if I were closer, a cup of tea and a bouquet of flowers.
Reviewed by Patrick Granfors 9/19/2010
How many times have I told you about BEER therapy? That said, since it didn't do a damn thing for my snot attack this past week, I concede my medical prognostication privileges. Just glad to hear that you are on the mend. Patrick
Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen 9/19/2010
Praying you get well soon
In Christs Love
Reviewed by Jon Willey 9/19/2010
Kate, some bloody E.R.'s are at best a cross between mayhem and purgatory. In the states they are overfilled with illegal aliens getting their routine medical service compliments of the American taxpayers, ala Medicaid and Medicare. I hope and pray that you are getting along much better now my dear friend. A couple of cardiac incidents and an allergic reaction to medication left me in much the same situation. Disconcerting at best. Stay well, be happy and may you be overwhelmed with love and peace. Jon Michael
Reviewed by Walt Hardester 9/19/2010
Try to do it without gasping,

If you could do that you wouldn't have been there in the first place.
Hello....sometimes they get overwhelmed....They all seem to be just kids anyway.
Quit smoking..

Reviewed by jude forese 9/19/2010
a tough experience, Kate ... take deep breaths by the sea, the salt air will help clear your out ... you effectiveness in painting this picture is strong and the atmosphere is deep ... don't forget to finish all the antibiotics ...
Reviewed by John Flanagan 9/19/2010
You're going to be fine! Anyone who survives A & E is over the worst, that place alone is enough to put an end to it all;
great details and atmosphere.
Healing and hugs from miles away.

Reviewed by Debby Rosenberg 9/19/2010
wellness blessings to you
Reviewed by Christine Alwin 9/19/2010 sorry to hear this Kate, I am glad you are back home, hope they diagnosed the reason why,,,my little 10 month Grandbaby had pneomonia a few weeks ago, and she grasped for air as well...very scarey! Get your rest!
Reviewed by Felix Perry 9/19/2010
Sorry to hear you were ill Kate but one minor cosolation is that these life experiences only add extra tools to use as wordsmiths and poets. From my own many experiences with emergency room visits for my heart I can say you really nailed the experience and made it one I could relate to so easily. Hope you continure to mend...
Reviewed by Sage Sweetwater 9/19/2010
Get well soon, Kate...there's a new season that awaits YOUR arrival...take care of you...Blessed Be.

Reviewed by Paul Berube 9/19/2010
Take care of yourself, Kate.
Reviewed by Susan Sonnen 9/19/2010
Oh, Kate, I'm glad that you are getting better!!! And that you can still write such fab poetry while under the weather!! :D
Reviewed by Christine Tsen 9/19/2010
Such an expressive, colorful poem ~
I just wish it were not auto-biographical! I also wish I could present you with a big bouquet of flowers right about now. Take lots of yogurt with those anti-biotics, and don't forget fresh ginger in your tea as I'm sure you know. Feel better and better!
Reviewed by E T Waldron 9/19/2010
With my bad heart etc,I know well what you went through,especially when lungs are involved. methinks not being able to breathe is the scariest of all! You will be in my thoughts and prayers!
bravo for the very interesting poem of your emergency room experience, brings back many memories for me;-)Be well soon!

love and hugs,
Reviewed by Jerry Bolton (Reader) 9/19/2010
The goings on in emergency rooms are scary as hell, it is a miracle they can tend to, and help as many as they do. You had a scary, scary situation there, Kate. So very happy to see you here and on the rebound.
Reviewed by Regis Auffray 9/19/2010
You have very effectively conveyed and share the atmosphere of the place and the situation. I do hope you are feeling better dear Kate. Love, peace, healing, and best wishes,

Reviewed by Karen Vanderlaan 9/19/2010
wow-the reader can really get a sense of the ER, please take care of you!
Reviewed by Gene Williamson 9/19/2010
Having recently returned, as you know, from nearly 6 months
of hospital and rehab (following my accident on the ice), I
wish I were there to hold your hand and help you breathe, etc.
Reviewed by George Carroll 9/19/2010
Just last year, as you know, I went through a very scary same situation so I can readily understand your anxiety and will pray they find your problem and fix it.


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