Needles for Good
Needles, Needles, Needles
Thin pointed metal spears endured intermittently
Are now part of daily consciousness
As weekly encounters with needle and pillow bearing Phlebotomists
invite rolling up of sleeves to fulfil their mission to extract, collect, label
and send bloods to the ‘Analyser’ machine.
Arm, hand, hip bandages and bruises, all
Reminders of the quick short sharp scratch
That hours and days ago pierced veins
To let deep red blood flow down thin capillary tubes
To fill purple, green and gold labelled tubes
Blood turns into data and numbers on a tracking spreadsheet
To be scrutinised by blood doctors and specialist nurses
The main man responsible is frizzy haired, smiling Haematologist Hayder
Currently in Birmingham England, originally from Dundee Scotland,
via Bournemouth and Newcastle who innocuously suggested
A biopsy would provide the confirmation of the suspected condition. CML.
Big brutal needle into the hip bone marrow
Sucking blood out on to slides and red marrow into a transparent pot
All to the soundtrack of increasingly deep breathing of laughing gas from the cylinder ominously wheeled into place from the corner of the day clinic room.
Labelled with name and number they are despatched to the big analyser in the sky. Relax.
Thanks to GP Nurse Karen, Clinical Centre Gill, Mel and all the jab experts
That have pierced my body with needles to enable detection of random cell mutations
That have occurred hidden deep in bone marrow unbeknown to anyone
Thanks to blood doctor Jayne who after her night shift,
Alerted by the sky-high white blood cell level of pre-op patient Turpie,
Took the time to make the difficult, but calm and considered call
To invite him to the Clinical Centre for Haematology, Pronto.
Its been another short sharp scratch ‘Bleed and Leave’ appointment
To be repeated regularly for leukaemia life.
Morning Eyes open to see the ceiling
Bladder and bowels intimate it is time to rise and face the day
Swivel to face the wall
Pivot on to the edge of the bed
No longer horizontal
Back gets vertical, Feet find the floor
Hands on haunches, deep breath
Fists, clutching legs above the bony knees
Focus eyes on the floor
Push hard to be upstanding for the day ahead
Creak, UP, Creak, UP, yes, no, back twinge
One foot in front of the other
Traverse, put weight through central spine,
Not either side putting pressure on the facet joints.
Moving, better than yesterday?
We shall see, as hands seek supports on the bathroom route.
Cold hands, cold feet
The blood is having trouble getting to them.
Wrists, hands and fingers are kneaded to
force the redness though the veins
to brighten the cold white tips
To bed one night
Forgetting to take the socks off
The sheets do not feel cold to the sock covered feet
Leave them on, why not
The morning sensation is of warmth
Still warm when the duvet is thrown back
Socked feet touch the floor
Taken off to shower
To wash away the dead skin-cells that are
Invisibly replenished, 20 to 30 thousand of them each day
Socks back on before being enclosed by shoes, or slippers.
Poems from September 2021 are here