Sunday, 8 December 2013

MY BROKEN HEART (75 Days In The NHS) by MARK BARRY. A Book Of 75 Rhyming Verses Now Available As A DOWNLOAD ON AMAZON'S KINDLE

(28 Nov 2012 to 10 Feb 2013)

This is a direct link to the download on Amazon UK
(it can be downloaded to most PCs and devices - the Kindle software is free):

Here are the gory details... 

“My Broken Heart (75 Days In The NHS)” is a series of 75 rhyming verses (one poem for each day) accompanied by photographs of a unique experience I don’t recommend you emulate (a heart attack with a right-sided carotid artery complication).

I was 54 when it happened. Despite a serious cycling regime to and from the West End of London (over 100 miles a week) - a history of ischemic heart disease on my Mum’s side and a lifetime of cream-cakes, greasy chips and chewy snacks in cinemas on my side - had finally caught up with literally over-sized Dubliner’s ticker. Angina blocked arteries led to a stroke which required a full-on open heart quadruple bypass operation. To add serious insult to a life-threatening injury - I’d also been diagnosed with a dissected and carotid artery in early November 2012 (bulging vein on your head, neck spasms) which would take 3 months to heal. So even though I got into the British Cardiovascular repair system on 28 Nov 2012 - I had to wait until 5 February 2013 for the actual operation - 70 days of physical pain and mental torture leading up to 5 more days of post-op agony (and many more months recovering). It was doubly cruel because my Angina was continuing to deteriorate and hurt on a daily and nightly basis. So my stay in two British hospitals (Whipps Cross in East London and St. Barts in the City of London) became a marathon and something of an emotional nightmare. 

The average sinner will spend only 6 or 7 days in the Cardio Ward of a British hospital so they don’t really get any time to dwell on the brutality of what’s about to happen to them (a nurse actually told me the less knowledge you have the better). In truth I had far too much time on my hands and far too many mental demons to deal with and dissipate. Mistakes made - unfulfilled promise - putting my family under the cosh at this late stage in my life - the money problems I'd leave behind. But - and I mean this - the whole experience was also oddly cathartic - joyful even - and strangely releasing in ways. A lot of love pours down on you when your life’s in danger - people come out of the woodwork. The chatty side-stepping stops and they tell you to your face that they really do like you - and don’t die you careless stupid fucker. My dedications page (as you can imagine) is very long. 

I kept notes on a daily basis - experiencing great British characters, unintentionally witty moments, low and high points and even epiphanies. Over the duration you're subjected to MRI scans, Endo-Cardiogram checks, ECG monitors, CTI scans, cannulas in your veins, electrodes on your chest, constipation, suppositories up your bum, catheters up your willy, the decibels of non-stop monitors, squirts of liquid morphine, sprays of Glyceryl Trinitrate and an industrial-sized Barber's Shaver on your legs. And this is before the operation. 

The pictures are almost all mine and are from the real world and wards. Bryan Taylor is real (RIP) - the singing Jamaican porter - Ali the helpful orderly - the fantastic nurses and doctors - the unkillable Geordie - the opportunistic Jewish Mum - the ultra-efficient German ambulance crew who kept getting lost - church bells chiming on the hour like a beacon of hope on dreary days...all real. Long-term hospital is like this - full of frights and nut-jobs and jaunts to machines in wheelchairs and drugs and blood tests and urine and endless bug killer gel on your hands and cold toilet seats and professionalism generally saving your life. But mostly it’s about mental will - the sheer bloodymindedness you need to live - to see it through - to rejoin your family and savour that second chance sublime. 

And besides - you have to admire a man who rhymes Altoids with Haemorrhoids.
And his consistent use of the word fuck as an adjective.
All in all money well spent by the nutty British and The National Health Service on a dodgy Catholic immigrant. (The Daily Mail will be pleased).

Enjoy - I know I didn't.

Published Sunday January 2014 on AMAZON KINDLE 

If you don't have a Kindle Device and just have a PC, Laptop or Mac
Go to the purchase page for the book. There's a BUY NOW WITH 1-CLICK box over on the right.
Beneath it is a second box - the last line says - AVAILABLE for PC or MAC.
Click it - and it will bring you to the FREE KINDLE download software page.
Click Download - it does so to your tool bar and when its finished you click it to open.
It will load the software - and you can read the book. 
It also throws in a few free books like "Pride And Prejudice"...

There's also a FREE KINDLE APP for Smartphones and other Tablets to download on the same page.

Here are 5 examples with their photos...


Nurse Margaret places my patch in the morning
Alternating between each shoulder blade - 
Deponit 5 gives me daytime relief from Angina
Clearing out tubes not making the grade - 

Nurse Oni hauls laundry off the InvaCare Mattress   
Then swishes with a Clinell Sanitising wipe -
She then folds a flap into the end of my linen sheet 
So my feet don’t slip out or get cold at night - 

Nurse Zara administers my nightly stomach injection
It leaves a line of bruises below the waist -
But she raises a ridge of skin so the stabbing pain
Is kept to a minimum and evenly displaced - 

Nurse Morris gets me an extra blanket at ten p.m. 
Because these crittall windows let in cold -
Sister Frances visits to see if I’m mentally coping   
Leaves me leaflets so my resolve will hold -

Given cigarettes to calm his nerves in World War II
Old English Bill is a still a Hampstead gent -
Nurse Rajani helps him through a racking coughing fit
Fluffing his pillows after an exhausting vent -

Another Nurse drops off a tea and two custard creams  
To diabetic Sid whose feeling lonely and glum - 
Nurses - I watch their everyday dedication and constancy 
And am completely...and humbly...overcome...

By Mark Barry

Monday, 3 December 2012 
Elizabeth Ward 
Whipps Cross Hospital, London

6 of 75

               STUFF and NONSENSE

My generation has some God-awful clothing     
Fashion crimes we’ve used and abused -
Tucked away in our cabinets is an Afghan coat   
Sat on top of two scuffed-up Jesus shoes -

We scatter talcum Powder in battered slippers 
Keeping the pong of stinky feet at bay - 
We wear body-length robes in fetching colours  
Pocket those bugger-filled tissues away -

Richard huffs at the plot of “The Da Vinci Code” 
Edward constantly twirls his wedding ring -
Raj looks at photos of his children on his mobile  
And smiles when their ring-tones ping -

John’s got his Dickens and William Wordsworth 
Likes his writers to be British old-school -
Charles is obsessed with politics in the newspapers 
Whacks the photo of another Liberal fool -

We blitz our cabinets with love and home-thoughts 
Position family photos and get-well cards - 
Some have an iPhone, an iPod and mini headphones 
The whole techno nine and a half yards -

Jonathan has sent me a box of pliable earwax squares 
An Olympus Voice Recorder from Mary Ann -
Cathy has sent me an Irish author’s new book to read
And there’s spiral jotters from my sister Fran -

People come pouring out of the human woodwork
When your dicky heart’s in genuine danger -
I carry their talismans around with me for good luck
They’re my Tonto and I’m The Lone Ranger - 

It’s amazing how dependent on objects you become  
Defined by old habits and nonsensical stuff - 
But when your very life hangs in the medical balance 
No amount of love’s ammunition is ever enough...

By Mark Barry
Thursday, 6 December 2012 
Elizabeth Ward, Whipps Cross Hospital, London

9 of 75


There’s a beaming Polish Gent in Bed Number 12
Chipper as a breakfast platter full of kippers -
Each day he cartwheels left and slips gingerly into   
His Dennis The Menace & Gnasher slippers - 

“I’ve not had a bowel movement since Wednesday!”
He announces to all with odd European glee -
Then proceeds to flick through snaps on his Nokia   
Of his equally cute/contented posse of three - 

But his face truly explodes when his wife comes in  
And they proper giggle like two newly weds - 
Dangling his upbeat pair of personalised footwear
As they chinwag by the raised hospital beds -

Happily his lab-tests prove he’ll get away with stents 
And won’t need the wiry sawed-open chest -
I watch him hug his proud-as-punch wife and children  
Come visiting Daddy in their Sunday best...

By Mark Barry

Sunday, 9 December 2012
Elizabeth Ward
Whipps Cross Hospital, London

12 of 75


There’s a picture of our Dino with lovely Georgia
A special-needs girl who is now his friend -
He’s in a tailored-suit and she’s in a prom-dress
Eating cake on the grass at evening’s end -

It’s a thrill to think that each has found a love
A buddy to see them through this life -
And even though they’re so naive and vulnerable
They can share their confusion and strife -  

You see our first-born is hand-flapping Autistic
He’s twenty-two but a child in his mind -
So any self-expression is proper gold dust for us
Pages, drawings and scribbles he’s signed -

Dean wrote me a homemade Father’s Day Card
Visited when my nerves were in tatters -
I now keep his heroic efforts on my bedside cabinet
To remind me of what really matters... 

(For our son, The Beautiful Dean)

By Mark Barry

Sunday, 30 December 2012
A visit from Dean and Mary Ann
Entered Side Room 18 in Elizabeth Ward 
Whipps Cross Hospital, London

33 of 75

                        PISSING FOR ENGLAND

A highly animated gastroenterologist comes into the I.T.C.
Asking after Mr Barry and his marvellous bladder -
Apparently I’ve displaced an unheard of 23 litres of urine 
Pissing for England in an equally pleased catheter  -

You wake up and realise there’s lots of paraphernalia attached 
Plastic tubes are stuck in every available hole -
There’s four colour-coded electrodes connected to your heart 
And a length of wire buried like a fleshy mole - 

You blow out that copper line that seems over forty-foot long 
Looks like a sci-fi prop from The Matrix set -
Then they begin to kickstart the parts of your lithesome body 
They’ve properly violated and thoroughly upset -

There’s a circular wad of tubing rammed up your flaccid willy
And every time your battered bladder opens it stings -
You feel like Golem coughing up all manner of odious phlegm 
With breath like an Ork in The Lord Of The Rings

They break open three suppositories up the crack of my arse
To help my bowels sonically connect with a toilet pan -
I’m down in X-Ray when I decorate the loo with sniffy piping 
Stretching from wee Bognor Regis to mainland Japan -

A nurse pulls the curtain round and tells me its time to extract  
The four wires that would have given my ticker a start -
But the yellow one gets stuck on the way out and she exclaims 
“I’ll just give this one a wee bit of a yank sweetheart!” 

A surgeon arrives in the evening looking genuinely Godlike  
Tells me the operation was a full-on success story -
Asks if I’m feeling better - I tell him - “I’m David Bowie Mate! 
Banging Aladdin Sane and ready for Hunky Dory!”

By Mark Barry

Thursday, 7 February 2013
Back on Vicary Ward, 
St. Bart’s Hospital, London 

72 of 75

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