The noise in the recovery room
Was half footfall and half hum
Like a well-mannered gallery
Of pictures that I could not see.
And then a name disrupted it:
The hated name of childhood: Pat,
A name I had not answered to
For fifty years and would not now.
Another voice began to talk:
Pat. And still I did not speak.
My husband waited in my room
And in the end they sent for him,
After an hour or two of this.
I heard Patricia. And said ‘Yes?’
About this poem
This poem is included in the second edition of Tools of the Trade: Poems for new doctors (Scottish Poetry Library, 2016). The anthology was edited by Kate Hendry; Dr Lesley Morrison, GP; Dr John Gillies, GP and Chair, Royal College of GPs in Scotland (2010-2014); Revd Ali Newell, and Lilias Fraser. A copy of the first edition was given to all graduating doctors in Scotland in 2014 and 2015, and with support from RCGPS and the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland, to all graduating doctors in 2016, 2017 and 2018. We are very grateful for the individual donations which funded the cost of this anthology, and to the Deans of the Scottish medical schools who made it possible to give the books to their graduating students.