The patient: Friday Fictioneers

Screen Shot 2017-11-30 at 11.34.50 AM

photo © What’s His name

Fran was allocated the new arrival in Bed 6.  Despite the handover she was unprepared for the stench that filled her nostrils on entering the cubicle. He lay, unconsious, in a foetal position. The pores of his skin black with inground dirt.

“He stopped washing two years ago.” A middle-age woman spoke, “He used to shower every day then every second day. When his shoulder froze, once a week. When Mum died the dirty language started and he stopped altogether. 

The monitor unexpectedly flat lined. The woman begged, “Please don’t save him.”  Fran knew either way she’d have to wash him.

Thank you to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers and What’s his name for the photo prompt.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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40 Responses to The patient: Friday Fictioneers

  1. Rebel Girl says:

    Sheesh! That was a good one! I love the picture too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dale says:

    Oh my. I’m speechless…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Moon says:

    Great writing, Irene. I feel for Fran and respect her choice of profession immensely.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That was powerful writing. Well done.

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Iain Kelly says:

    I can understand the woman’s situation and feeling of despair – and Fran’s matter-of-fact reaction. Excellent.


  6. Dear Irene,

    This is so vivid and well written. Stunning in more ways than one.



    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Writer’s Tag – Telling Stories Together

  8. Life Lessons of a Dog Lover says:

    I agree with Rochelle this was stunning and I will add tragic.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Fran shows more respect for the man in death than he did for himself. How sad that so many little things throw us into impoverished lives, the poverty showing up in unexpected ways. You wrote a short story with enormous importance, Irene, and great sensitivity.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Nan Falkner says:

    Fran can’t win for losing! Sad story. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Nan Falkner says:

    Some jobs really are worse than others.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Mike says:

    WOW !! This was totally unexpected read. It was VERY MOVING.

    You can write so well. I think great writers have a wealth life experience behind them — and you do!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Sandra says:

    That was one powerful piece of writing. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I am left with my hand covering my mouth. Dare I read it again?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. That was a powerful story, and the last line was brilliant!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I think in the end we know that they left before the heart gave up… very moving. Maybe washing was not the worst part after all.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Bang! What a last line! And the idea of what might have been behind the personal neglect. Everyone has their own backstory, yes?


  18. Decisions can be a challenge! But as a nurse I guess she’d have to do what she could.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. granonine says:

    what a sad deterioration of a life. Beautifully written.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. pennygadd51 says:

    You tell us such a lot in that story. The middle-aged woman (his daughter or daughter-in-law, presumably) must have endured so much trying to care for him. And she must have known that it was fruitless, that he’d given up on life – was already dead, in effect – and so she was bearing a great burden of grief, too.
    Really well told, Irene! And I love your emphasis in the comments about how lucky we are to have nurses who care for us with professionalism and respect.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Well that is certainly a point of view I had not considered!

    Liked by 1 person

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