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Documenting not dying since October 2013.



you are in A&E


you did not want to come. 

you knew what would happen. 

this pain 

this pain that seems to penetrate from between your ribs to out of the centre of your spine 

means it is back. 

the one that tried to kill you before

not the cancer

the superbug. 

you are in agony 

(but not so much agony that you cannot scold a man watching videos on his phone with the sound up). 

you are about to climb out of your chair, onto the floor

because you cannot work out a way to stop the pain

but they call your name.

you crawl onto the bed

the nurse tells you that you can't stay there 

you are only there to be triaged

that bed is not for you 

you wail.  

you are in a different cubicle 

on a different bed 

(that you are allowed to stay on)

a doctor comes to take your blood

you sit up 

and vomit. 

your first thought

"it has been several days since we had kale."


morphine on demand

naloxone (it feels like 

being ripped apart 

from the inside)



it is dark 

can't breathe 

can't sleep

can't tell what day it is 


there are tubes

in too many holes

holes you didn't have before

(when did they make these holes)

you aren't allowed an anaesthetic 

you must have been awake when they tunnelled that little-finger-sized line from your groin to your heart

when they catheterised you 

when they put you on dialysis 

even when they brought you down here 

how do you not remember 

(because you haven't slept since you arrived in hospital)

after that

it is flashes 


crying about pain that they cannot fix 

having a panic attack because you cannot breathe

begging the doctors to prescribe you enough drugs for you to take your own life because you cannot see a way out of this horror. 

then the fog lifts 

you have had sleep 

(you have been allowed one sleeping tablet)

and you wake

(figuratively and literally). 

lucidity is frightening. 

you realise how close you were 


how you could have slipped away 

without knowing 

without agency 

without a chance to say goodbye. 

for the first time in eleven years 

you are scared. 

death without a farewell

has never been a consideration. 

recovery is slow. 

you begin to eat 

(spoonfuls of ice cream, a biscuit, chicken soup from a packet)

you drink more 

(if you don't, you will never please the kidney doctors)

you begin to move 

(you can barely stand)

you leave the ICU. 

one more week

they call it your "miraculous recovery"

you go home


with a zimmer frame.

- amnesia.

The 22nd & 23rd; Another miraculous recovery.

The 22nd & 23rd; Another miraculous recovery.

The 22nd of September, 2018.

The 22nd of September, 2018.