THE poem about old age, Crabby Old Woman, that I used last week, always causes a reaction.
But it is especially relevant after the recent publicity about the way some of our elderly are treated by those supposed to look after them.
The poem, written to raise awareness for all carers of old people, inspired a response – the equally emotive Nurse’s Reply. Crabby Old Woman posed the question to nurses: “What do you see, when looking at me?’’
Here is the response to redress the balance that was written by a nurse on a busy, understaffed ward, which is the norm these days:
An Ode To Nurses:
What do we see, you ask, what do we see?
Yes, we are thinking when looking at thee.
We may seem to be hard when we hurry and fuss
But there’s many of you and too few of us.
We would like far more time to sit by you and talk
To bath you and feed you and help you to walk
To hear of your lives and the things you have done
Your childhood, your husband, your daughter, your son.
But time is against us, there’s too much to do.
Patients too many and nurses too few.
We grieve when we see you so sad and alone,
With nobody near you, no friends of your own.
We feel all your pain and know of your fear
That nobody cares, now your end is so near.
But nurses are people with feelings as well
And, when we’re together, you’ll often hear tell
Of the dearest old gran in the very end bed
And the lovely old dad and the things that he said.
We speak with compassion and love, and feel sad,
When we think of your lives and the joy that you’ve had.
When the time has arrived for you to depart
You leave us behind with an ache in our heart.
When you sleep the long sleep, no more worry or care,
There are other people and we must be there.
So please understand if we hurry and fuss
There are many of you and too few of us.