A poem about liver transplants

To Rog: with apologies to Mrs Wilson’s Diary   Anon 1975

As tepid on the marble slab the dying patient lies
Impervious to probe and jab no lustre in his eyes
All hope seems gone – but then, of joy! Oh rapture, bliss and more so
A liver from some dead young boy is placed inside his torso.

His heart rate stirs, his BPs up, his kidneys sound the charge
The body’s troops rush to the fight, both brigadier and sarge
With prednisone in ev’ry cell he glows and seems quite healthy
He’s sound of limb and mind (as well as being very wealthy)

The patient’s well, his foetor’s gone, his pulse is quick and strong
Thus speaks the leader to his men as round his knees they throng
The registrars give orders now, the housemen labour on
And scientific workers give voice to their joy in song

With needle, knife and scalpel straight they leap upon their prey
They make his leucocytes migrate they bleed him night and day
The liver unit bells ring out a tocsin long and gay
As hep B negative results bring in the happy day

But evolution is a slowly working thing
It took a hundred million years to make it really swing
Dame nature guards our species and is very, very careful
A person with a mis-matched gene she’ll find – and weed – and pull

And so within a week there comes the first small sign of trouble
His body swells to twice its size, his lungs begin to bubble
As stones form in his bladder gall a fever starts to swing
His kidney flow begins to stall, his bile duct goes k-ping!

Out of his mouth a red, red flux
Out of his rear a black
For who can tell in what strange way
The portal veins will have their say
And send his dinner back

But still they do not yield the fight though new snags they encounter
They make his leucocytes migrate, they sleep upon the counter
To place a drip in ev’ry limb for deeper veins they dig
And finally, as hope recedes, they ‘put him on the pig’

But finally their work must fail as nature gains her due
As temperature begins to fall, extremities to blue
With gangrene gas within the lung and streps within the bowel
It’s time enough the body cries to yield and throw the towel

So tepid on the marble slab the dying patient lies
Impervious to probe and jab no lustre in his eyes
Had he but known what lay ahead his doctors been less hasty
He could have gone more slow and soft instead of quick and beastly

Sic transit omnia gloriosa gloria


Recent material

Personality Lecture 24.8.09 for students

Jung and Freud handout09.pdf