Alone in your pericarditis zone, by Susan Hill

Susan Hill, author of Alone in your pericarditis zone

Susan Hill, 57, from Melbourne, Australia, was diagnosed with pericarditis while studying for her Masters in 2017. The grandmother of four felt inspired to write this powerful poem after realising there was a lack of knowledge and acknowledgement of the condition. 

You cook, you clean
At work you glean
That coffee break looming
Holds alien warning

Unbeknown to your body
Conscious nor soul
The world as you know it
Retreats into pall

Are you breathless or stunned
Catapulted to Mars
Brought to your knees
Metropolis please!

Get up ses-a-me
This pain I've but read
Is for those in throws
Of ambulance or dead

Of us whom seem lucky
Rushed off to ER
Pinched, tagged and punted
On trolleys we go

Cinches and punches,
Needles and pins
'Lectromagnet vibrations
Fear let no-one in

No more precious an organ
Beats loudly and strong
Than the one we all live through
Delivering our song

Back home just a bed bug
Or lounge lizard lord
Retreat from the mainstream
Our all central cord

It hurts ses-a-I
Reclining on couch
It hurt ses-a-me
As I lurch, fall and ouch

Med whirlwind circus
Begins such abrupt
Activities so normal
Yesterday's loft

Relax ses-a-me
For a boat one must row
Just for a spell
As I balance my bow

Gratitude I spell
Upon all whom I know
That no matter the swelling
I'm still here you know!

Work since long cancelled
The bills rise immense
Housework and homework
No cause less intense

Than today when I meet
'Nother GP or geek
Filled with hope ne'er abandoned
For the health we all seek

Doc I'll tell you a story
Of folk whom I know
This condition of uncertainty
Sure challenges our yow

It hurts when I breathe
Lean forward or back
Pillows and puffers
Yield naught on attack

My body it aches
From temple to toe
Days of relief
My heavens still low

Heaving and sliding
Chest wall to breastbone
Stretching and seething
Each cell through collarbone

Radiates up my neck
Out eardrums to helix
Via jawbone adjacent
Tongue left speechless

Shocking and shaking
Peri-heart things remiss
The soul that springs entire
... something's amiss

Anti-inflammatories through steroids
Alternatives and kale
The pills and the potions
Yield resolutions stale

Piercing and punctious
Swelling and sore
The balance we're seeking
Screams gladden us more

Few who are treated
In a three week sojourn
Know all to the comfort
Of pain least endured

No less is the pondering
Of why such the tonic
For those left a wondering
6, 12 months or chronic

Days are few when
A few hours melt
Into normal oblivion
Of normal heart felt

All of a sudden
Struck down again
This morning with beauty
Subsides into hell

Yet tomorrow she cometh
Absent sleep, rest or will
The sunshine still bringeth
The fight in our shrill

Begone broken heart bubble
Your pain, angst and tear
CRP, T-wave, troponin
Do quit or I swear ...

No matter your hold
On my daily undoings
Your might ain't in sight
Of my future, my viewings

So, friends near and far
Whom you 'brace in your web
Peri-card-itis dear foe
Count your numbers and go

'Cause no matter the plight
You've inflicted in sight
You ain't gonna get us
No sir, 'cause we're sprite!


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

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