The following bit of rhyme is a gift from the talented writer, Mrs P. The piece came about after I had communicated to her about some of the poor instruments and machines that have sacrificed themselves in their mission service to Africa. Those of you who work, or have worked, at mission hospitals can certainly relate. Enjoy. (Graciously shared with the kind permission from Mrs P).
Electrocardiogram (ECG) machine that mysteriously stopped working
Ode to Imperfection
The ECG machine, alas, has given up the ghost;
One final heart beat analysed and traced.
The fungal spores have flourished in the humid atmosphere,
And clinic walls and theatre drapes are damp and mould encased.
The scanner's wheels have perished, the printer does not print,
The "rust-proof" clamps and scissors grate with rust.
The power lines are powerless, despite repeat repairs;
The text book splits, the pages curl and crumble into dust.
The iMac's back up battery begins to swell with damp,
The scanner's bound with parcel tape and hope.
The doppler struggles on despite quite overwhelming odds;
And things are looking doubtful for the humble stethoscope.
Each time each piece is handled, scrubbed, reglued, rewired, patched up;
Or time and time again is washed and bleached,
Each implement's capacity is stretched beyond its bounds
Until the point of no return, eventually, is reached.
By all means praise the gleaming rows of smart machines elsewhere;
Designed to work in pristine, sterile splendour;
Efficient, clean, predictable, unsullied, uninvolved;
And strangers to fatigue, despair, death, conflict and surrender.
But, don't forget those instruments which pay a higher price
By simply striving hard to do their duty:
For each has earned its battle scars and each displays in turn
A battered, rusted, scorched, damp-damaged, strange, imperfect beauty.
~ Mrs P
Instruments soaked a bit too long in their eau d'javel (bleach) baths
Packing tape keeps monitor intact and bravely working
Well used pharmacopeia
Printer that, sadly, did not survive its encounter with 220 voltage
Even plastic wheels succumb to the harsh realities of mission service - slowly falling apart