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The Hospital Orderly

by James Shammas (Age: 53)
copyright 07-05-2005

Age Rating: 16 +

I bump into him often, on my rounds,
Dressed in anonymous blue or muted green,
Shifting and lifting sometimes hundreds of pounds,
Equipped with his basin and towels so clean.
He wipes down your grandpa who's had the big stroke,
Your mother with Alzheimer's too,
Perhaps someone younger who's fever just broke,
Or the one whose heart stopped, still turning blue.
He cleans inside of spaces one rarely goes,
Under sagging breast and bleeding buttock,
Over thin chafing skin and flaking toes.
And where I hold my nose and look at the clock,
Straighten my name on my labcoat starched white,
He dreams of his name on a paycheck tonight.

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        07-09-2005     Roger Crique        

When I first introduced my first poem, here at PNP, I was repeatedly told not to sacrifice my sentences for the sake of rhyming. I think you may be doing this here. If I'm not mistaken, I believe you're a physician. Perhaps, this is why I find some of your poems unusual. I'm sure that on your daily rounds, you're exposed to things that most of us are not, so for you to speak of curling toes, bleeding buttocks and the likes, is a normal thing. By the way, I would make, "buttock," plural.

        07-07-2005     Brian Dickenson        

Well done Jim. They are unsung hero's. Overworked and underpaid, and unfortunately, most times, un-noticed.
I can speak first hand on this, having been in hospital a few times over the last three years.
This should be printed and circulated to all those who complain about our NHS.

At the time I am writing this I am listening to the reports of the Al-Qaeda attack on London. Hundreds are being treated in hospitals.
The whole of our medical people need thanking.

        07-06-2005     Anthony Lane Stahlhut        

So many times these people go unnoticed and it is nice when you take time to recognize them. My daughter and son are both RN's. Thank You, Anthony

        07-05-2005     Jean George        

David forgot to mention underpaid, too. This is a wonderful tribute to those who are often the ones who make a patient's stay bearable, who make it possible for nurses to be nurses and may know more about the patient than any chart can tell you. This poem also fits perfectly for all the CNA's (nursing assistants) who work in our many nursing homes and health facilities. Jim, this poem shows that you realize that without these people, our health care system as we know it could not exist....Bravo to you for recognizing them.

        07-05-2005     David Pekrul        

It's a job I wouldn't want, but we must give them credit. What would we do without them. This is a nice tribute to those who work behind the scenes, unrecognized and often under-appreciated.

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