3 October 2023

Poem: Not just a body in a bed

I’m not just a body in a bed

You see me. But do you?
You speak to me. But do you hear me?
You ask me questions. But do you listen to me?

I’m not just this body in this bed. I’m so much more…

I am the 17-year-old solider that went to war a boy and came back a man.
I am the 19-year-old girl who was married and widowed to WW2…
I am the man who ran his own company and worked 24/7 and was always on the go…
I am the woman who raised four beautiful children then went on to foster 25 more.

I am the man who nursed his wife until her very last breath in our home…
I am the woman who lost her sister as a child tragically, but still gets up and smiles every single day…
I am the man who was a secret baby and lived in a chest of drawers until I was adopted by a beautiful family…
I am the man who is 83 and plays the piano at home.

Please… everyone has a story. More than a body in a bed.
I’m more than this body in this bed.

Written by Hannah Franklin, Frailty Nurse Practitioner.

We spoke to Hannah to find out what inspired her to write ‘I’m not just a body in a bed.’

“I was recently asked to assist as the Frailty Practitioner on the frailty virtual wards,” said Hannah. “I was inspired by a wonderful gentleman called Anthony, who I met on Glynde Ward when he was admitted for a short time. The virtual ward team recognised that we could support Anthony with an early discharge home to enable him to complete his medical treatment at home and avoid deconditioning in hospital. I visited Anthony at his home the day after he was discharged.

“When I arrived, Anthony was sitting in his chair, looking relaxed and comfortable, and like a different person from the one I had met the day before. Next to his chair was a piano, which he offered to play after the assessment. Anthony played three beautiful classical pieces of music which were all self-taught – this made me cry, as it was such a contrast from the day before. This was the moment that inspired me to write “Not just a body in this bed.”

“In a busy hospital, with the multiple tasks on your ‘must do today’ list, it’s easy to forget that the patients we care for are so much more than what we see right now, and what we treat in that moment. They are people with a history, with a life story, many of whom want to share their story… and many of whom will share their story, if we have the time. Listening for even a few moments can be truly inspirational.

“Getting Anthony home on the virtual ward was a blessing for him and got him back to his baseline a lot quicker than if he had stayed in hospital, potentially for many more days than necessary. He would have deconditioned and may not have returned to his baseline, able to play his piano, which is what made him happy every day.

“‘Not just a body in this bed’ was inspired by Anthony, however it makes reference to many other patients that I have been honoured to care for.”