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Hospital Notes

Food. The word bloats and blinks, neon-glary, in my migraine mind. There are vines of weighty words twining the menu page today, a jungle of tick boxes. The choices maze and faze me -

Breakfast: Porridge/Prunes/Yoghurt
Lunch: Chicken Supreme/Salmon Salad/Stewed Apple
Supper: Soup/Sandwiches/Fruit Compote

canned peach slices float
in a bowl of golden juice -
yellow crescent moons

There are days, days when I won't take my dressing gown off, because to do so means exposing my horrendous fat body, the disgusting mounds of flab. Today is one of those. Everyone is careful to avoid the word 'anorexia', instead they say 'eating disorder'. Until one doctor slips up: "You are aware you have anorexia?"

The word falls blackly into a black hole of silence.

I'm on a supplement plan for malnutrition - four Ensure:
Raspberry that tastes like jewel berries glinting in gardens,
Forest Fruit that tastes like woodland walks in autumn,
Banana that tastes like palm-fringed tropical skies,
Strawberry that tastes like Wimbledon in June.

The cheery Filipino nurse brings me a coffee, acrid as October smoke, and my midday Ensure drink. "The calories go down easier in liquid, yes?" she asks brightly.
"Yes," I agree, but I want to vomit them back up.

fingers down my throat
in the bathroom's polar glare -
the toilet hisses

The daily arguments, pleadings, rantings: "You're making me fucking fat!" "I feel fucking huge!" "I've got to get this weight off!" "You've got to let me go home!"

The daily drill: blood pressure, weight check (standing backwards on the scale so Ana can't shriek), blood test.

the needle pierces
a snowdrift of ice-thin skin -
ruby rosebuds bloom

After supper the usual twitchiness sets in: fingers flicking, feet tapping, knees bouncing. The calories burn beneath my skin; I can't keep still, can't rein the agitation in. I pace up and down the ward corridor, restless as a blown leaf. The day room is deserted, has become a night room with the clock's tick tock: 7 p.m.

white cups on saucers
abandoned silver spoons strewn -
bitter coffee dregs

Walking, walking. Walking the three meal bloat into the feather-float of night...

Back in my room, pillow-propped in my electronic bed, I stare out at scalpel-silver skies; sterile, glassy light as day rolls away like a glass bead.

my water jug glints
in pale strobes of spring moonlight -
the white ward clock ticks

Adapted from a notebook I kept while in hospital
7/18/2015 Haibun Contest


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  1. Date: 7/24/2015 9:24:00 PM

    My God Charlotte- you are beyond brilliant - no amount of weight or lack of it can ever take that from you & perhaps? it is what gave it to you? "the nearer the bone the sweeter the meat?" has new meaning for me now. I would fav this BUT I will not fav your pain- I wish I could write as well as you do BUT I never want to go through the pain you have to get here. BIG BIG HUGS Congrad's Light & Love
  1. Date: 7/24/2015 5:20:00 PM

    Charlotte, oh my gosh , this write is so heartbreaking and powerful at the same time, I felt the struggle in each word 10++++ and thanks for visiting my poem, breaking my heart. ..
  1. Date: 7/22/2015 1:20:00 PM

    I feel like an intruder in your diary Charlotte. The experience and thoughts so private birthed this haibun and this reader is overwhelmed by the emotion and imagery. I do hope everything turns out fine for you. Kim :-)
  1. Date: 7/19/2015 4:37:00 PM

    very brave to come forward with this i praise you for this, i hope all is well the struggle always shows but i know you are strong, be strong:)
  1. Date: 7/19/2015 3:46:00 PM

    oh MY, this is so amazing. I just can't think of another word. Spectacular? Fantastic? And yet that does not quite seem appropriate to say about someone who has just spilled their guts talking about an eating disorder. You are such a talent, Charlotte, and the way you SEE things. Your imagery just sings to me. One thing though, stop with all the boring fruits. Come to me, chiquita, I will fatten you up with burgers and fries!! Luv you!!
  1. Date: 7/18/2015 10:39:00 PM

    Awesome write Charlotte ,, although we all go thru s'thing or the other in our life ,, but putting ur emotions to such powerful words is really tough,, u did !! Kudos !!
  1. Date: 7/18/2015 5:01:00 PM

    An exceptional story highlighted by such powerful haiku Charlotte - I know you have been through the mill with your health issues and I hope and pray you can get help with this condition - would love to see this as poem of the week to give this far greater exposure - I have worked with students as young as 11 who suffer and it is truly heartbreaking to see:-( Hugs Jan xx