Creative Writing

“I read George Eliot’s Middlemarch and was thrilled to find masses of medical humanities insight through the trials and tribulations of Dr Tertius Lydgate. George Eliot herself was not a medic and yet with Lydgate’s story, the story of a rural Georgian physician, she expressed so much that was human and identifiable – even to a twenty-first century nurse such as myself. Sharing this kind of insight and enthusiasm for writing and literature, and combining it with my own clinical experience, is something which is a real pleasure that has been rewarded with great engagement. My overall aim being, that in stimulating the students’ thoughts on what it is to be human and a doctor, their medical careers might fare a little more easily than that of poor Dr Lydgate.”

Simon Holliday, Creative Writing Tutor
Ward Round
 The bike is parked in its usual spot:
 Just in from the left, not so close to pathology but by the tree.
 By the tree, russet-gold in Autumn, burgundy in Spring.
 The spokes glisten, gleam, shine in the light of the breaking dawn.
 I turn to see. 
 Orange, burning orange it rises, infatuating.
 Deep, piercing rays streak across the heavens
 The harbinger kisses the night sky and at the confluence 
 It melts into day.
 The city dons its tranquil, luminous shawl, 
 With its towers, its homes, its spires and its domes
 Lying bright and glittering beneath the smokeless sky.
 And for a moment or two,
 Just for a moment or two, 
 I bask.
 Now turn, turn to the entrance, 
 The portal to my world, to my work.
 It welcomes me with open doors
 As it does each morning.
 As it does each ‘morning!’
 Says Emmanuel the cleaner
 A lovely bloke as I am reminded, apparently not long here – 
 He recounts the intricacies of his journey
 ‘No worries mate, that speed cam’s never on’.
 Now upstairs, 
 And now halfway up the stairs ‘Sarah!’
 Her mum has improved, she is managing well - 
 ‘It’s all one can do in the face of it’ 
 Ofcourseofcourse, lots of love to her.
 ‘Jericho Ward’ my sign reads, just to open the door and
 ‘He-llo!’ carries across the linoleum
 Lola’s voice like a bell as ever
 ‘Not so bad my dear, not so bad’
 A folder of notes stuffed into my hands.
 I pore over these runes on the walk to the office and
 ‘Who needs some tea just now?’
 I pour over these runes in the office, surrounded by the family
 A catch-up with Dan 
 A brief chat with Natalie.
 Throughout these corridors, these sterile, messy, 
 Charming, familiar corridors
 I walk and I greet some more. 
 Feeling the energy, and the connection -  
 Palpable, yet invisible.
 The handover meeting draws to a close.
 My ward round ends,
 And my Ward Round begins.
  - Adam Rimmer - 
 Dear Dismembered Heart,
 Do you mind awfully when we come to stare?
 Would you still have agreed to end up there?
 When you signed up for this were you made aware?
 Fat fingers through your Great Vessels.
I wonder whose love you used to hold
 I wonder what secrets you left untold
 I wonder how it felt when your blood ran cold
 Loose thread beneath your Ascending Arch.

 It hardly seems fair I get to admire your hue
 In awe of your beauty and blemishes too
 Marvel at where you made rich blood from blue
 Sticky notes in your Upper Chambers.

 Please know that whilst my hands are clumsy
 I promise always to think of you tenderly
 To honour you in my own imperfect memory
 A whispered prayer at night.
 Fresh faced, unsuspecting, like children at role-play
 Naive but pretentious we march all through the night
 Hoping to somehow diagnose it away
 We cannulate through hesitant, sleep-starved sight.
 John mightn’t see tomorrow. Did Ally get the right meds?
 Other names jostle in long lists, anxiously awaiting care
 Only to find "sorry love, we haven't anymore beds
 Our hands are tied you see, goodbye, please do hang in there.”

 Bleep! BLEEP! Quick, pager! – An ecstasy of fumbling
 Superhero cape and pants a-ready
 Left through the corridor, skidding, stumbling
 Each fading minute his pulse more unsteady. —
 My first corpse: what if I told you he was first of many?
 God rest the souls lost to my blundering.

 But this is no time for inefficient self-pity,
 Tears on a doctor are most unbecoming.
If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
 The waiting lounge of the soon to be departed,
 And observe the quiet anguish behind each face,
 Knowing this mess might have been avoided;
 If you were there when we snatched the wrong kidney

 That time we stuck a tube through a man’s lung
 When we stole from the dying their last breath of dignity
 With all the grim grace of a criminal hung, —
 My friend perhaps you would not tell with such high zest
 clinging to remnants of imagined glory
 That tired old lie: Primum non nocere.

 - Ruqayyah Karim -