The Patient

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"I am a patient" I whisper in my head
and I should be treated like one
please take care of me
as I lie in this bed
with my insides burning
scared to death of this disease
my bones ache
I tremble and sweat
and cry as I stare out the window at the parking garage
where my car is parked, waiting for me to escape this nightmare
I wish I could say I'm here because I'm brave
but the truth is I'm trapped here by my body's rebellion

There should be a nurse in a crisp white uniform
who walks in confidently, checking my equipment
soothing my fears and pain
and making sure I'm safely surviving
and give me my medicine
but no, not for me
I must roll over aching
make myself sit up
and groan as I force myself to stand

"But I am a patient" I say in my head
and I should be treated like one
instead of being treated like a degenerate
instead of being forced to stumble weakly down the hallway
supported by the wall
until I get to Them
They who have the medicine I need
They goad me to hurry
like I'm some kind of manipulator
pretending, lying, false
their sarcastic comments
punch me where I'm broken
as they hand me my medication
in a tiny plastic cup
and They watch me suspiciously
as I force it with water
down into my unsettled stomach
and They must check my mouth
making sure I swallowed everything
because I can't be trusted

No rest for the weary
I walk with fear into That Room
the one set up in a circle
where we are appalled that we must confess our sins
to total strangers
painfully, under the watchfulness of Accusing Eyes
She who keeps forcing our souls into the bottomless pit
She who smashes our faces into the dirt on the floor

"But I am a patient" I shout in my head
and I should be treated like one
instead of being treated like a degenerate
When we are done
She walks out with her head held high
secure in the knowledge that we will walk out
with our eyes downcast
out through the back doors
and into the dirty alley to next door
to open the hospital cafeteria doors by the dumpsters
and parade past everyone sitting at their tables
they all know who we are
all the time we are eating
we are dreading the fact
that we must go right back into That Room
and suffer the humiliation again

"But I am a patient" I scream in my head
and I should be treated like one
instead of being treated like a degenerate
but you won't find that here
I'm sick and miserable
and need to be taken care of
with gentleness and respect
but this is a stop on the way to Hell
because They believe that's where I belong
They don't believe in this disease
They hate what I am
and laugh at me behind my back
because it's all my fault that I'm here
and to Them, I'm a joke
but in reality

I am a patient




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Rachel Bond

Tue 4th Oct 2011 00:28

thanks for your explanation.

i understand now that you are saying the patient of addiction rehab should be treated with the same care as a physically ill patient. i agree, i think its also something to say the same about the mentally ill.

I thought the poem excellent in that it provides a vivid description of illness and the reality of this type of place, difficult reading because of subject, but very clear.

i think i was getting mixed up by the way the patient defines themselves differently..but like you say the society is telling the addict its all their own fault. i think we all need better education on the subject.

thanks again x

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Rachel Bond

Mon 3rd Oct 2011 18:12

hi lisa

i ask as there are clearly many forms of addiction and although i dont think you reference addiction in The patient' people have assumed the condition described within it, as being about addiction from your comment. I wondered what your thoughts were about this in relation to the poem.

i wondered if the poem suggests an 'addictive' type relationship between its 'patient' and 'being' within a hospital environment? one where the patient is only saying they are 'a patient' to themselves whereas the outside world views them otherwise, the sarcastic nurses with pills for eg. in this poem and treating the patient negatively so that the patient recieves no care and therefore never recovers in a viscous the poem suggesting the subject is addicted to this negative experience? as being part of more broader term 'disease'?

disease can mean anything struggling with what your trying to say with the poem..that the patient is subject to a disease and so in misery and that they cannot escape the cylce because they believe that do be so?

i hope you dont mind the questions. im interested in this area and your poem so well written thought you may have an interesting view of the subject.

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Rachel Bond

Mon 3rd Oct 2011 02:19

great poem.

what forms of addiction do you think there are?

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Wed 17th Aug 2011 12:38

A very raw piece Lisa and a fascinating read. I think Ray's critique is great - he is the one poet you can rely on to really embrace the work of art as well as the underlying meaning - and do so in a helpful tone.

For most of us it is hard to imagine what it must be like to be an addict and the indignities they must suffer. The closest insight I've ever had was reading 'A million little pieces' by James Frey - brilliantly written, though I understand it has been the subject of some controversy.

I am so glad that your work is being appreciated by the wider WOL community. It is impossible to know what will strike a chord though. Sometimes really good pieces just don't get commented on.

Thanks for your message on my profile - it is appreciated. :) x

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Dave Bradley

Wed 17th Aug 2011 10:35

Wow. Hadn't planned to log on, but had to, to salute your courage, wish you good luck and say that you really MUST keep writing. Brilliant. What a riveting read.

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Laura Taylor

Wed 17th Aug 2011 10:31

Hi Lisa

Welcome to WOL - great start!!

Loving so many lines in this, and as Petrova says, the progression from whisper to scream is excellent.

Totally agree with the sentiments expressed in this wonderfully-written piece.

<Deleted User> (8943)

Wed 17th Aug 2011 09:25

Great piece Lisa,

I love how the whisper becomes a scream. Also love that line, "punch me where I'm broken" so powerful but think you're spot on with "patient" - I imagine an addict won't believe they're a person. They are, after all trying to escape something either externally or more likely internally.

And the repeated demand not to be treated like a degenerate - excellent.

<Deleted User> (6895)

Tue 16th Aug 2011 22:18

fantasic poem Lisa.

"who can you count on for proper care?"

you won,t be able
to even imagine the answer to that soon
the way things are going.




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Lisa Milligan

Tue 16th Aug 2011 18:49

If the medical community doesn't treat addiction as a disease, and mistreats patients, getting caught up in the stigma like the rest of society...who can you count on for proper care?

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