for a child with leukaemia
Teddy was not well.
Teddy had been feeling sick.
Teddy had to go to hospital.
Teddy was told that he had too much blood.
Teddy did not miss his friends.
Teddy knew the thermometer was not sharp.
Teddy was not scared of needles.
Teddy said the medicine would make him better.
Teddy closed his eyes at night.
Teddy ate his vegetables.
Teddy’s small girl lay in the corner of his bed.
She was not so sure.
Her eyes were made from round buttons.
The fluff on the top of her head was worn
as though it had been chewed.
About this poem
I wrote this poems for a three year old patient with leukemia. She screamed at her doctors whenever we entered her room on the ward. On Christmas Day Santa gave her a water pistol. After that we were allowed in as long as we were shot one by one without mercy. She is well now and trains dogs. Water pistols should be a mainstay of cancer treatment.
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.