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Covid Poems FINAL

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Small book of

Covid poems

An anthology of stories told by staff and service users

at Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust


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Forward

Well - what can we say about the last 18 months?

It’s been unprecedented

It’s been incredidbly difficult

It’s challenged us like never before

But....

It’s been inspiring

It’s been rewarding at times

And is has made us proud like never before

The strength and resilience of our staff has been truly inspirational.

The way they have cared for our patients, their families and friends, but

also each other has been incredible - truly living our trust values.

This book of poems, which was the idea of Judy McDonald, our former

Interim Chief Nurse who led us through the peak of the pandemic, has

been written by our staff, service users and carers.

We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did.

Kind regards,

Mark Axcell

Chief Executive

Jeremy Vanes

Chair

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Contents

Foreword Welcome from Mark from and Mark and Jeremy

Jeremy

Poetry

One year of BCHFT

When the world came to a standstill

Crazy Corona Chronicles

Ode to Covid

A year to remember or one to forget?

Empty Chairs

Pandemic

Nurses’ Day 2021

White Lilac

2020

Covid-19 Day 62

Rallying our troops

Nursing in 2020

Welcome to My World

From the Editor - Judy McDonald

01

05

06

08

11

12

15

19

20

22

23

24

26

28

31

32

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At the heart of our

response you, our

bostin’ people.

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One year of BCHFT

So year one of BCHFT comes to a close

Our founding year of this new blooming rose

The merger was planned all documented on file

But a national pandemic came, that gave us a much bigger trial

It has tested us all - pushed us hard, in difficult days

To be our very best, to change and learn new working ways

But there is much to shout in pride, from the highest steeple

At the heart of our response you, our amazing bostin’ people

Coming together, caring, looking after one and all

Across our four boroughs everyone can stand tall

Thursday nights, everyone rose to cheer you, and clap you, and say

a Black Country “ta”

And I hope you get time to listen to the recognition for the heroes

you undoubtedly are

So to close my reflections on year one of our new trust

A sense of awe, admiration of so much pride I could bust

To watch new working relationships and friendships bloom

Just in a new way remotely, 2 metres apart or on zoom

To you in corporate, clinical, everyone has played a part

And I just wanted to say thank you - it comes from the heart

You have been amazing and our challenge will continue its true

Proud to be part of team Black Country - a first year thank you

Mark Axcell

Chief Executive

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When the world came to a standstill

At first I was afraid, I drove myself round the bend

I truly thought the world I knew was soon going to end.

Chaos in the shops, fear in every person,

But we knew the situation was going to worsen.

Work became a war zone, I became a solider.

Peoples loved ones dying, their worlds crumbling on my shoulder.

What is the meaning to this?? What is the divine plan?

How can this be allowed to destroy man!

The world came to a standstill, the world living in fear.

What is the point to all this? Have a look right here.

Communities united, people now show they care,

Churches reaching out to people who didn’t even know they were there.

Pollution has faded, rivers now clean,

Smog reduced and mountain tops now seen.

True heroes stepping forward, now being recognized,

Fighting for strangers and for them, sacrificing lives.

Busy schedules now empty, a chance to stop and reset.

A chance to breathe and on life change my mindset.

Sitting in the garden, watching nature do life,

The birds singing, blissfully unaware of this strife.

For the first time in my life, I see nature’s beauty prevail

And all my worrying doubt, in the wind, sets sail.

Spring bursts forth, flowers start to bloom

And suddenly I am reminded, it's not all doom and gloom.

At the end of every storm, there is a rainbow,

The rain will come, the clouds shall come but go.

My faith at first shaken somehow now seems so strong.

For I know God has been in the midst of this all along.

I still don’t know the answer, I still don’t know the meaning,

I do know however, on God, I am still leaning.

My mind repositioned, my faith now sturdy,

God still stands, powerful and worthy.

I will not be beaten, not my body or mind,

Inside me I looked, and strength I did find.

Nicci Hickman

Service User

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Inside me I

looked, and

strength I

did find.

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Crazy Corona Chronicles

Crazy Corona on our door knocks

And there is much frenzy in the shops

Paracetamol and hand gel are my goal

“Oh, and just where the heck is the loo roll?”

23 March and we have “LOCKDOWN”

And the city centre is just a ghost town

Asda queues long, 2 METRES pleeeeease

Only way to ‘kick ass’ this disease

The food bill has gone up and up

A trolley full of beer and wine to sup

And chocolate, sweets, crisps and cake

We are all getting fat – for god’s sake!

You see I’m trying hard not to YELL

As I am actually “the teacher from hell”

History, R.E., Geography and French

Not to mention aGGGGGGGh Algebra – so intense!

We binge watch “Money Heist” on Netflix

Series one, two, three and four, soon be on six

They escaped with 2.4 Billion and we ask – Just how?

And now all we sing is “Bella Ciao” (pronounced chow)

Corona virus isn’t going away

Minecraft, Apex, Fortnite, GTA

as well as the phone, computer and the Ipad

Oh my god, this is driving us mad!

When will the barbers open – anyone’s guess

Because our hair’s an absolute mess!!!

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Snip snip, the home haircut just does not look great

Clumps here and there, - hairdressers we don’t make

Looking for random washing to do - as it’s all completely done

Sleeping bags, blankets, curtains and cuddly toys - some

My son has no clothes, he has grown such a lot

It’s a wash and wear till they open a shop

Let’s go for a walk at 6.50pm

Beautiful Geese and Ducks and Oliver’s den

Nature has opened our eyes, - the honey bee’s hum

And the vibrant Pink of the Rhododendron

We walk every day (mostly) now – 2.5 miles

Woods, Lakes, Hills and mud, but no stiles

That’s approx. 149 miles on 69 walks

Sometimes bickering, sometimes long talks

Monopoly, Bingo and the Game of Life

Board games everywhere, keeps us out of strife

And simply “Snap” – find a pair

and “Who wants to be a Millionaire”?

Skype family Quizzes are so much fun

Three hours later and we are done!

Some of the questions are just hard

I mean do you know “5-10 years is the lifespan of a Mallard”?!

Importantly, thoughts with people – whose family they have lost

And the magnificent key workers, their health at a cost

Social distancing though - is here to stay

Please stay safe - Corona has not gone away

Tracey Salter

Medical Secretary

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A chance to

stop and take

a look at what

really matters

to me.

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Ode to Covid

Don’t forget your PPE!

That’s all we seem to hear

There is a reason for this though

The reason’s very clear

A mask can catch those nasty bugs

The ones you cannot see

Those nasty bugs that could eventually send you off to A & E

We have all made massive changes

Though we know it’s for the best

Coping with that dammed PPE

Has proved the biggest test

Covid will be with us for quite a while it’s said

And many of us had to sacrifice that holiday in the MED

A small price to pay don’t you think, when all is said and done

We’ve many more happy years to catch up on some fun

Covid will not break us

But make a stronger link

If anything it has given us the chance to stop and think

A chance to stop and take a look at what really matters to me

Family, friends, work colleagues, but most of all a stronger me.

Angie Millward

Senior Administrator for Nurse Development

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A year to remember or a year to forget?

A year to remember, or maybe forget,

2020, perfect vision, as our imperfect world

Did not envision a virus unfurled.

‘God help us’ we cried

As it swept through humanity, closed down society,

In the path of the virus, it almost destroyed us,

Impairing our sight, despairing our days

As we look through the haze,

No trace of normality wherever we gaze,

Blinded by assumed superiority

Exposed to our own vulnerability,

WE REALLY DIDN’T SEE IT COMING!

The future is clouded but clouds dissipate,

For hope springs eternal, it’s never too late

To envision the time when things will be better,

Friendships and family treasured forever.

We’ll value what’s here in front of our eyes

No need from now on to look up to the skies.

The scales have been lifted, horizons brought near,

Our goals may have shifted, our vision more clear.

Let’s be kind and not judge the behaviour of others,

Let’s all pull together as sisters and brothers.

Carol Hurley

Associate Hospital Manager

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The help that I

bring, to keep

things flowing.

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Empty Chairs

Empty chairs,

And empty desks

Empty stairs,

On empty decks

No clattering keys,

The phones fall silent

I don’t feel at ease,

On this desert island

Isolation,

Is the new norm

Desolation,

In a different form

Nobody to share,

A cup of tea

The kitchen is bare,

Of staff you see

No friendly voices,

To cheer you up

Your only choice is,

A single cup

A one man band,

Holding the fort

Lending a hand,

For those distraught

This is the thing,

That keeps me going

The help that I bring,

To keep things flowing

Making sure,

The support is there

Especially for,

Those within our care

David Stocks

Vocational Specialist

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Pandemic

Each Year we prepare for flu season

‘This year will be the worst’ they say for some reason

We are long overdue a global pandemic

But we are prepared no need to panic

The pandemic policy we review each year

And each flu season we survive we let out a cheer

There is talk of a new virus?

But we’re ok we have policies to support us

The pandemic hits at a phenomenal pace

Like startled bunnies we stare into space

Guidance is coming through by the minute

Getting it to staff is the challenge we’re facing

It’s a marathon we running make sure you pace

But this is a different kind of race

Wave 1 we are all cheered

And the decks have all been cleared

Wave 2 it’s business as usual

We can’t afford to become casual

Wave 3 We are tired but we keep up pace

We are still running the race

We had all the guidance and polices a plenty

But nothing prepared us for 2020!

Judy McDonald

Interim Chief Nurse

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Nurses’ Day 2021

Being a nurse is more than a job

It’s a passion

A vocation

Kindness oozes from nurses across

the nation

It’s having a desire to help and care

And when friends and family can’t be

We are always there

It’s treating people with dignity and

respect

And having an instinct to want to

protect

It’s walking over 10,000 steps each

day

But never letting our tiredness get in

the way

It’s listening when people want to talk

And talking when people want to

listen

We see people at their best and their

worst

And as an individual is how they are

all nurse

We provide strength to our patients

when they need it the most

And make endless rounds of tea and

toast!

In 2020 nurses arose

But endured a year of so many lows

We lost colleagues and friends and

loved ones too

But carry on is all we could do

12 months on after our biggest test

We are still standing and doing what

we do best

We have laughed

We have cried

And we have screamed out loud

But most of all we have felt so proud

We are proud of ourselves and our

colleagues too

It’s incredible what we have all

worked through

But when I reflect on it all there’s

nothing else I would be

Being a nurse means the absolute

world to me

Emily Smith

Communications Manager

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But most of all we

have felt so proud.

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WHITE LILAC

Safe in my sitting-room

My finger rests nervously on the remote

In case it all gets too much.

The scent from a sprig of lilac fills the room.

On a Covid ward

Men call across to each other almost cheerfully,

Their comradeship palpable.

“I nearly died three times – I thought I was going to

leave in a body bag.”

Mesmerised, I gaze at the screen

Not with pity, nor even fear

But with awe.

How did they get so brave?

The news item finishes.

Outside, the robins fly to their young in the ivy.

Like us, they live in danger.

I move the vase away a little.

The scent is just a bit too much.

Hilary Allison

Administrative Assistant

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2020

2020 what a year it’s been

Our family we have not seen

A day, a month even a year, it’s filled us all with so much fear!

I hear a voice down the phone, it seems to be a voice I’ve

known. They say that they’re missing me but in these walls is

where I’ll be.

2020 what a year it’s been!

Face is masks is all we’ve seen, sometimes it gets hard I

struggle to remember is it May? June or even December?

A calling voice guides me the way and helps me get through

the days. Although your eyes are all I see, I feel your kindness

towards me.

So my caring friend wearing the mask, please know I am

grateful when you’ve finished your task. I know 2020 has been

quite tough, but your hard work has been more than enough.

R Baker

Staff Nurse

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COVID-19 Day 62

Sixty two days since we were free, to come and go just as we all

pleased

The reason we are all in a lockdown state, this Covid-19 may spread

to our mates.

A nasty new bug from a Chinese province, a global pandemic came

without much notice,

The world it came to a very sudden stop, no longer on planes can

anyone hop.

Stay home, stay safe, is what we’ve been told, our social lives are all

put on hold

We long to have hugs with family and spend time with our friends.

We want to hold them all tight, but we can’t until this all ends.

So social media is all we have got, to keep in touch, it’s better than

not.

Every Thursday night we go out to clap, remember key workers and

our great NHS

Forty seven years I’m proud to be a Nurse, in all of that time its

never been worse

We have all pulled together through the good and the bad, some

days have made all feel very sad.

So keep safe at work, put on your PPE, it’s your only hope of staying

virus free.

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On bad days we have lost a colleague or two, from what seemed at

first like a dose of the flu

But this awful disease has claimed too many lives, brothers and

sisters, husbands and wives.

When will it end, will life ever be the same? we don’t have the

answers yet, oh what a shame

So for now we continue to fight in this war, against another virus

we have no vaccine for.

As more days go by we have time to reflect, what will we remember

or what have we missed?

Of times without loved ones we miss them so much, the shopping,

the freedom, or some jobs been lost.

The lessons we learnt about every day life, the things most

important to husbands and wives.

One things for sure when the virus has gone, these days we

remember like none gone before.

Those things we hold precious and just take for granted, our

freedom to go wherever we wanted,

We may have a long wait until we can fly, so just be content now to

go for a drive.

One day when it’s over and we have stories to tell, how we all helped

each other during this difficult spell

So just keep on going, keep positive, keep well, and all stick

together to do what you do well.​

Lorraine Priest

Infection Control Nurse

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Rallying our troops

We have been battling Covid for many months now

Some days we even wonder how

But we have got this far by being a team

We laugh, we cry and sometimes we scream

But we support each other, each and every day

Because after all - that’s the Black Country Way

We are feeling the pressure in this second wave

But we absolutely will not cave

Our patients deserve the very best care

And whatever they need – we will be there

If our ward needs you – please don’t say no

We need your help – more than you know

Our wards are secure, with lots of PPE

And if used correctly – you are safe as can be

If you are able to cover a shift please do

It’s your flexibility that will help us through.

Whether it’s Hallam, Bushey Fields or our other sites too?

When we need extra capacity – could it be you?

Communications Team

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Because after all,

that’s the Black

Country Way.

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Nursing in 2020

This is our time to show the world nurses worth,

The way we all work to help people on earth

It’s time to celebrate; nursing roles in their plenty,

But nursing has changed so much in 2020

A virus has come that changed all our lives,

It’s impacted the world since the time it arrived

It’s changed how we work and affected us all,

It has shown us no mercy from the old to the small

We’ve been stretched to our limits in a number of ways,

And 24 hours seems like weeks not a day

We have carried on working though the ways they have changed,

New roles, hours and settings, our lives rearranged

Core business remains, we never say never,

health care is now more important than ever

We rely on our colleagues, pull together at work,

Substantive, bank and agency none of us shirk

Student nurses have joined us in placements extended,

To add to a workforce that’s become much more blended

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The army of nurses that have returned into practice,

To fight there beside us, the virus that’s attacked us

Care and compassion remains always endemic,

As we all work together to get through this pandemic

We are not immune either at succumbing to sickness,

And plenty of colleagues have been affected by illness

Many nurses have passed from this terrible threat,

Rest in peace to you all, and we’ll never forget

We have cried for each other our families and friends,

That compassion and caring for us it won’t end

We are proud to be nurses and no one can doubt,

We’re supported each Thursday by a clap and a shout

It’s our time to prove that on us they depend,

Dedication and passion from their start till their end

We have shown what we’re made of, we are all built with stealth,

Working relentlessly to nurse the world back to health

The times they will change as the nation reshapes,

But the world will remember not all heroes wear capes

Maxine O’Brien

Matron

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The year not the vision.

They’re worried.

More than usual.

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Welcome to My World!

Pandemic. Coronavirus. Covid19. 2020.

The year not the vision.

They’re worried. More than usual.

Welcome to My World!

They might not get through it!

Welcome to My World!

There’s not enough Personal Protective Equipment.

Welcome to My World!

“There’s only enough for those who really need it,” they say.

Welcome to My World!

Might have to go to hospital!

Welcome to My World!

But there’s COVID there and other bugs!

Welcome to My World!

We might not get over it!

Welcome to My World!

We’re having weird dreams at night!

Welcome to My World!

This is, and has been for 25 years,

My life as a carer

of a severely disabled son!

Welcome to My World!

Teresa Culverwell

Carer

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From the Editor - Judy McDonald

2020 has been an incredible year and no one has been untouched

by the Covid-19 pandemic.

This collection of poems by the service users, carers and staff of

Black Country Healthcare captures a small window of people’s

experiences.

Being a nurse I am reminded of this quote by Florence

Nightingale: “I think one’s feelings waste themselves in words ;

they ought to be distilled into actions which bring results.”

I am proud that alongside all of my professional colleagues, our

service users, carers and members of the public - we have seen

peoples’ words and feelings transform into action to bring us

through the pandemic together.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this book and it has helped you to

reflect on your own experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic.

I’d like to thank all those who have contributed to the making of

the book and I would also like to dedicate it to all those who lost

their lives in services during the pandemic.

Judy

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Continue seeing our incredible staff showcase

their commitment and dedication to our service user

and the NHS by following our social media channels.

Who knows maybe even a poem or two will

pop up from time to time there too!

Give us a like Facebook by searching

‘Black Country Healthcare’

Find us on Instagram by searching

‘blackcountry_nhs’

Follow us on Twitter by searching

‘Black Country NHS’

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The delivery of first

vaccine gave us

optimism for the

future. It became our

symbol of hope.

Do you feel like you need help with your

mental health or are you in crisis?

A mental health crisis is when you feel your mental

health is at breaking point, and you need urgent help

and support.

However you experience a crisis, it’s always OK to

ask for help.

www.blackcountryhealthcare.nhs.uk/

contact-us/help-crisis

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