Not Yet Cathetered by Garry Rowlands

Garry Rowlands

After falling ill with heart problems, Garry Rowlands was rushed to hospital. He started writing this poem during the anxious period before he had his angiogram, and then a successful stenting procedure.

Garry says: “The final verse came first. It was the silver lining of the ‘Oh my God I might be going to die’ cloud. I was not attached to a urinary catheter and I was allowed to eat.  This seemed very important to me at the time.’ Garry is now back to full health and enjoying his usual activities, including fell running.


Chest pain, dizziness, out of breath.

Arm pain, nausea, gasp for breath.

An ambulance whisks me from untimely death

and drops me at the nearest a&e.


It's 2am and all’s well

Though sticky pads, slapped here and there,

pinch the skin and pull the hair

from a chest waxed bare

by the pads of previous ecgs.

I lie still, relax, and breath.


It's 4am and all’s well.

I am, as yet, not cathetered

Though machines around me flash and beep

and noisily disturb my sleep,

And leave me groggy and drifting deep

in the wash of broken dreams,

they reassure me I still live.


It's 6am and all’s still well

Some other patients seem much worse.

as they twist and turn and groan and curse

and, fighting, wrestle with the nurse

as she tries to do her stuff

to ease their pain.


It's 8am and I am well.

I remain, so far, uncathetered

and my file’s still free from the fateful phrase

‘Nil by mouth’.


The poems published in this section are creative writing by Heart Matters readers. They should not be taken as medical information or advice.

It isn’t always easy to express your emotions, but writing poetry can be a way of putting your feelings down on paper which many people find helpful. If you’d like your poem about any aspect of heart disease or caring for someone to appear in this section, email it to [email protected].

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