Daughter of Wales

Mam-Gu’s daughter was a nurse,
born on a farm, beaten by her father,
abused by his friend.
At fifteen her back
pained so much
Mam Gu tied her laces.
School made her do gym,
no doctor believed her.
She spoke Welsh, was a woman.
Never trust doctors. She said.
They believed her when,
her vertebra collapsed
from TB of the spine.
She was eighteen months
caged in a body cast
which didn’t work.
Never trust doctors.  She said.
They pulled a rib, mashed it up,
filled her diseased spine.
Wear a steel corset, be a secretary,
don’t have children!
She became a nurse,
had two boys and a girl.
Never trust doctors.  She said.

She’d been ill a year.
Flu, they said, malingering.
One night she screamed
her way to casualty
a rotten kidney was removed
her body cast had caused a stone.
Never trust doctors.   She said.

One day, Tests, they said,
showed an enzyme deficiency.
No nuts, no fats, no dairy food,
an appalling diet. Slim she went thin.
She had to give up and then found
they’d neglected to say the tests were wrong.

Never trust doctors.  She said.

The baby’s dead, they said,
Not growing.
He was eleven pounds
Had leant to where
her kidney had been
fooling the ultrasound.
Never trust doctors.  She said.

June eighty-four brought MS,
November a lump in her breast.
Chemo then radio therapy
from a machine aimed at her breast,
no explanation for months of pain,
radiation sickness; we later found out.
Never trust doctors.  She said.

Cancer three times again,
and she died two weeks
before her September birthday.
When we were first engaged
she said she would die at forty-five;
she was wrong.  She was almost fifty.

Never trust doctors.  She said.

© Anthony Fisher March 2002

2 thoughts on “Daughter of Wales

  1. All emotion, Anthony, in every word. You make me feel what she felt and you, while writing it. Whoever she was, she was a brave lady.
    … And yes, never trust doctors.

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