‘A note to patients when all else fails’
Sometimes the needle is too blunt.
The stethoscope is too quiet.
The scalpel will not cut.
The scissors chew like old men’s gums.
Sometimes the book has not been written.
The pill cannot be swallowed.
The crutches are too short.
The x-rays hide like dirty windows.
Sometimes the thermometer will not rise.
The plaster will not stick.
The stitches cannot hold.
The heart conducts a normal ECG.
Then I have to ask you what to do
Which is what you might
have wanted all along.
‘A note to patients when all else fails’ by Glenn
Colquhoun, from Playing God: Poems about Medicine (Steele
Roberts, 2002), by permission of the author.
Also available in Tools of the Trade: Poems for new doctors (Scottish Poetry Library, 2016)
There is a problem
Thanks for your feedback