National Poetry Day at Gibraltar Nursing Home

Karen Tidy – Carer of People, Rhymer of Words

October 3rd was the 25th anniversary of National Poetry Day and the theme of this year’s literacy celebration was ‘Truth.’

Karen Tidy, a Senior Governance Nurse who supports Gibraltar Nursing Home, has written a collection of poems about some of the stark realities for people living with a dementia.

Karen, who was thrown into caring for her family after her father had passed away when she was aged ten, made the transition into professional caring when she became of age.

The poetry she writes comes purely from emotions deep within and from past experiences whilst giving end of life care before her time at Gibraltar Nursing Home. During this time, she observed many people confined to their beds who were unable to verbalise or feed themselves anymore, which prompted her to wonder what they were thinking about and what they were feeling.

She says it is imperative that the people she cared for were still spoken to and included in everyday discussions. As soon as you stop doing that, she explained, that person becomes part of a conveyor belt system, on their way to their end, rather than thinking of them as a living person, complete with their feelings and frailties.

Karen reads her poetry to those who she cares for and loves, to whom so many have been so lucky. An excerpt from Karen’s poem, ‘What is Time to Me?’ is featured below.

What is Time to Me?

A second, a minute, an hour a day

What does it matter to me anyway?

I get up in a morning, have a cup of tea

The time of day doesn’t matter to me.

It seems like a rush, I feel like a number

Just leave me in bed to finish my slumber

Don’t rush me along and then down to the table

Let me take my time – you know I’m not able

To give myself food or make myself clean

Well I am 94, have you not seen

How feeble I am and how slowly I walk

All you do is rush and consistently talk

About which one is next, or what else to do

You just make me feel like a burden to you

I’ve just settled down and sat in my chair

To have 40 winks and then someone’s there

It’s my bath day today I wish they wouldn’t hover

And rush me again it’s just so much bother

Its mid-afternoon I just want to nap

Not be pestered and tugged and dunked in the bath

Leave me ‘till later when I go to bed

But please do not hurry, go slowly instead

And seeing as you’re listening, I might as well say

Don’t put me to bed to get me out your way

I know I might hinder you as I wander around

But I like to feel free to walk up and down

Or to watch the TV once in a while

I’m sorry if this cramps your routine and style

But try and imagine just how I feel

When time dictates every drink, every meal

Every conversation – and sometimes they’re few

Is dictated by how much you’ve got to do

©Karen Tidy 2011

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