Ode To (Her) Shoes

Ode To (Her) Shoes

My friend Liz (aka Dr Daps) is seven months pregnant and a Doctor in A&E. She is unassuming, tirelessly giving and giving and taking nothing in return. She penned a poem inspired by the changing of her trusty shoes and it really struck a chord with me – particularly as a shoeaholic.

Following the news about the suicide of yet another NHS colleague, she says…

The time has nearly come for me to replace my very lovely, comfy, reliable shoes. They are shoes which ran races, which pounded the pavement to help clear my head, and which then became my reliable, comfy work shoes to rush me around A&E. After a few very gruelling shifts in the emergency department I had a very sleepless night. As I tossed and turned, I realised the significance of my lovely shoes, and threw a few words together in an attempt to purge some of my whirlwind thoughts.

‘An Ode To My Shoes’

Oh, the things you have seen,
The things you have heard;
You’ve carried me daily
Without saying a word.

You’ve been with me through happiness –
When patients pull through,
To see the smiles on their faces
Knowing we’ve done the best we could do.

You’ve been with me through laughter,
When the days have been fun!
When workload is manageable,
The team flows together as one.

You’ve been with me through love,
When families surround,
Realising time is precious –
Skipping over lost ground.

You’ve sat with me through gratitude,
When patients are kind
They’ve realised the pressures,
Like they’re reading our minds.

When they know we’re doing our best
Although the waits are so long;
They grasp our hands for a moment,
‘Thank you,’ rings sweet, like a song.

You’ve held on to my toes
And squeezed them so tight,
As I’ve curled up my arches
Preparing for Friday night fights.

You’ve heard the voices of arrogance,
The voices of spite,
As people spit out abuse
Well into the night.

You’ve walked me through blood,
You’ve walked me through tears;
We’ve seen so much together
The last couple of years.

You’ve sat with me crying
Alone in a corner,
Allowed mere seconds to grieve
The loss of one’s ‘other’.

You carried me back to the ‘shop floor’
With my head held up high,
Accompanied me to see others,
As I tried not to cry.

You’ve been with me through heartbreak –
When we’ve had to let go.
You’ve seen me crumble and break
All alone, though I’ve known –
That nothing else could be done,
We did all that we could,
Yet it doesn’t alter the sadness
When you’re pulling the plug.

You’ve heard the screams of the families
Knowing their loved one is gone,
You’ve run me over to comfort –
I’m called away before too long.

You’ve been with me recently,
As we notice things changing;
And not for the better,
This culture of blaming:

No beds in the hospital!
Ambulances queue out of the doors,
There’s no call for diversions,
Though patients are sprawled over the floor.

Dying in corridors –
The governments’ idea of success!
We’re so many staff down,
Suicidal from stress.

Yet we’re told to celebrate,
For the ‘NHS is surely great!’
Politicians are blind –
They clearly can’t relate

To the chaos of reality,
The fact we can’t do anymore.
We’re burned out and broken,
Our concerns always ignored.

Angry patients and relatives –
And we’re angry too!
That nothing is changing,
No more we can physically do.

There’s no space to see patients,
The beds are all taken.
Yet there’s more streaming in –
The department is breaking.

We’ve escalated already –
We’ve said it’s unsafe,
The answer always the same,
‘It’ll be fine, have some faith.’

This is not what I wanted,
And its not why I trained –
I wanted to help,
Not feel I’ve constantly failed.

I go home feeling broken,
Like I’ve done a bad job;
As I drive down the road
My heart starts to sob –

Why won’t anyone listen?
We’re trying our best,
In a system that’s failing,
A system? A mess!

I think over the day
Exhausted and scared,
As my eyes drop to sleep
I can hear the horns blare –

I’m still on the road!
I’m not in my bed –
I force my eyes open,
Eyelids heavy, like lead.

When will they listen?
What more will it take?
To realise we’re not coping
And that lives are at stake?

You’re battered and bruised,
Worn through and threadbare –
We’ve a few things in common,
A symbolic, final wear.

As I crawl barefoot to bed,
I know I’ve done all I can do;
I’m going to miss your quiet company
My old, trustworthy shoes.

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2 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    January 25, 2018 / 12:02 pm

    Amazing poem – should be read by everyone – especially Jeremy Hunt!!

  2. Katy
    February 10, 2018 / 11:28 pm

    Superb. Agree with the last comment this should be shared and sent to Mr. Jeremy Hunt.

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