Day Stay

By | 1 July 1999

Whether you’re there
for an hour
or the whole day
it’s always like returning home—

to that room in Immunology
where you’ve spent
so much of the past year.

With its two beds
and three armchairs,TV
and handbasin
it brings to mind
images of domesticity
that somehow one’s spirit needs—

the comforting
and familiar, the secure:
what’s easy to touch
and understand.

Tony, the duty nurse
welcomes us
with his happy, boyish smile.
“Darling, how are you today?”
“Fine,” you reply.
“Wonderful! Now let’s get you settled.”
And he does—
in what’s become known
as Kate’s bed.

I settle down
beside you, sit and read TALKABOUT
learn how hard
it is for people to be accepted,
to be themselves,
and how easily discrimination
rears its proverbial
“ugly head.”

In the meantime
they prepare you for another
bone marrow biopsy
to test the presence
or otherwise
of further leukaemic cells—
and I cringe to think
how a corkscrew needle
will shortly puncture your flesh;

and how you, too,
will have to learn to adjust
to the world outside
this friendly little room—
whether the result
is good or bad.

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