Bed Six is Betty Brown
Been here three weeks or more,
this one. It’s OK; she can’t hear you...
With the fairies, half of the time –
the rest...she’s asleep. Her kids
drop by, occasionally; voice
their concerns. People expect
miracles, these days. ‘She’s old’,
I explain. God knows, we do
what we can, but we don’t
As for the commode; just ignore
her tears and protestations – ensure
she sits there, though your reward
will, more than likely, be zilch.
And then what does she do? Soils
the bed, doesn’t she? Don’t worry –
in a while you’ll get used to the stench...
it won’t make you want to puke...well,
not as much. ‘So, how are we today
then, Betty?’ See – she can’t hear me.
What did I tell you!
“Oh, but I can...I’ve lost the power
of speech – not my mind, nor
my dignity, although you do your best
to take it from me. Made to relieve
myself in full view of the ward....
my throat parched; lips cracked
and dry...festering bed-sores.
Hungry – thirsty; meals left
out of reach, and even if not,
no possible way I can hold
a knife, spoon or fork.”
By the way, she never eats a thing –
a complete waste of National Health
resources; we just take her plate
away, food untouched. Not our job
to feed them. What the hell
did we get our degrees for?
Not to be glorified carers,
that’s for sure.
“‘She’d be better off dead...her
and the rest of these sad geriatrics.’
I haven’t heard you say it, but
I can see it in your eyes. If you look
in my handbag, there’s a photo
of the girl I used to be...and,
the funny thing is, if you asked her,