Mike Tonkin

Stroke

I had a stroke,
One minute I was
Michael J Tonkin,
The next I was
......Nothing.
When I finally
Regained conciousness,
I couldn't say a word
I could think words
But I couldn't
Speak them.
I couldn't move in bed
One side of my body
Didn't work..
I accepted it.
I knew I was very ill
I accepted it
I wouldn't be
Normal again.
I accepted that too.
I lived in a dream
Sometimes awake
Sometimes asleep
Thinking, thinking
What was I thinking
I don't know
A tube came out
Of my stomach
How the hell
Did that get there
Was I dying....
Oh Christ.....but
I couldn't care less
It was wonderful
I couldn't care less
Dying was so easy.
There was a girl
In the bed opposite
She was helpless
She was about eighteen
And so very lovely
I wished myself dead
And her well.
Her mother came
And nursed her
She too was beautiful
And very brave
Day followed day
I was never fed
Yet I never felt hungry.
It was a passing thought,
Then one day
I was well enough
To leave.
Well enough. Ha!

I arrived at the
Nursing Home.
I was put to bed.
I was left alone.
I wept.
Was this to be
My future.
Nobody talked to me,
They were much to busy.
I was in nappies,
Nappies!
And this bloody tube
That ran to a bottle
And fed me
Through my stomach.
I was alone for hours.
It is very lonely
Being ill.
God its lonely.
How the hell has he
Got in here,
This has nothing to
Do with him.
.........Or maybe it has.
He's got to have his
Pound of flesh,
You can't just have
A stroke,
It always has to
Get worse.
He's got enough tricks
Up his sleeve
To fill a circus.
I don't believe
In God.
I've got an electric
Wheel chair now,
I don't have to wait
For someone
To push me any more.
Nobody talked to me
They were much to busy..
I try to talk and
Its giberish.
I know what to say
But it comes out
As giberish.
It should be easy
But its not.
A nurse appeared.
Cheerful
And efficient.
I seemed to know her.
Her smile
Was understanding,
And it cheered me,
It made me think
For the first time
That life wasn't all bad..
Why does my skin
Itch so..
Sometimes it is
Unbearable, .
Its as if I have
A million
Ants
Working under my skin...
I've got a
Nebuliser system now
I put on the mask
And breathe in the stuff
And feel better
For a while.
During the last year
I have learnt to
Talk again.
I read a book out loud
To myself.
It took a hell of a long time
But I can talk.
Nobody talked to me
They were much to busy.
I had two or three
Trips to hospital.
They always put me on
A puree diet
And two measures of
Instant food thickener
In my drink.
The food tastes foul
And you eat your
Drink off a spoon.
If I have to go in again
I shan't eat.
I'm not eating
Pap, or drinking
That muck.
The physiotherapist was
Teaching me to walk.
I would stand up
And she would smack me
Behind the knees
Until I was standing
Quite straight.
Blow that for a load
Of soldiers.
I had no confidence
In her.
At Christmas she said
I'm not coming any more.
She'd given up
I was overjoyed..
I never saw her again.
This last time
They tried something
Different, they gave
Me more of the
Steroids,
And took me off them
More slowly.
It doesn't work.
Nobody talked to me
They were much to busy.

It would be nice
To feel well,
To wake up in the
Morning
And to say to myself,
What shall I do today.
But then, I wouldn't be
In here.
The nurse has been
Wonderful.
She makes me do things,
Well not makes me
More asks me
To do them.
Who am I kidding.
She makes me do things,
But she has also become
My friend.
Am I happy
Am I content.
Am I at peace with myself
I'm not certain about anything.
Something is bound
To happen.
Oh, what the hell..
..

.
...



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.,

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Poem Submitted: Monday, June 11, 2007
Poem Edited: Thursday, March 10, 2011

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Comments about Stroke by Mike Tonkin

  • Original Unknown Girl (6/21/2007 10:01:00 AM)

    God that was such a read and so much has happened to you. You must be so proud of yourself that you are able to put so much into words. Stroke's sound like the most dreadful debilitating thing to happen to someone, you have conveyed some of that yet I imagine that each day brings different challenges. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, it must be painful and yet in some way cathartic to write so openly about your experience. Well done you. And keep on going, you are amazing! ! HG: -) xx

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  • Who's Erwhatsit (6/11/2007 2:49:00 PM)

    You are amazing to be able to share so much. I worked as a nurses assistant in nursing homes in the past, it broke my heart. You repeated the words 'they were much too busy' and that really reflects the truth. I was repeatedly reprimanded for listening and talking with patients who really needed that support. I could understand being reprimanded for just standing around talking, but these were reprimands for even seconds of conversation and not minutes! I did get hired on later to do activities in another nursing home and then it was my job to go around and listen and speak with and to read to those who couldn't otherwise respond-but many nursing homes don't hire for that sort of position. Your words are very sad and very true. If enough people know maybe changes can be made, after all, someday it may be them in the nursing home.

    If I had been there, I would have at least read to you! Keep writing.
    DK

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  • Mark Halle (6/11/2007 1:28:00 PM)

    You are an absolute hero. Please keep writing, keep fighting. You can win through your mind!

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