Squeeze my finger, by Sally Ginnever

Sally Ginnever running in New Zealand

After an aortic valve replacement in 2014, Sally Ginnever has recovered to live a very active life. Her poem describes her experience of coming round after surgery in intensive care and was written with the theme, 'My 3 favourite words'.

As part of her cardiac rehab Sally took up running, including running 5k as part of the Auckland marathon in New Zealand (pictured).


1. "Squeeze my finger," she said. 

Did I really hear those words? 

They are very faint, but I'm sure I heard them.

Even if I didn't hear the words, I am conscious of these 3 words.

And of sweet music.


2. "Squeeze my finger."

There they are again.

Not just in my head, but real.

What do the words mean?

Squeeze my finger?  Whose finger?

And where is that music coming from?


3. "Squeeze my finger."

Yet again and not just to me either.

All around me I can hear those words being repeated constantly by others to others.

"Squeeze my finger", "Squeeze my finger", Squeeze my finger".

What is that music?


4. "Squeeze my finger."

I had better do as she asks. 

She is very insistent.

There.  I've squeezed her finger.

"Well done", she says.

"Welcome back".

The music is clearer.


5. Welcome back?  Where have I been?

Oh! I remember.

I know where I have been.

I know where I am.

My heart sings.

I not only know where I am. I know that I am.

My heart beats.

I listen to Vivaldi and give thanks for the words "squeeze my finger".


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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