Art & Poetry in Medicine, Clinical, Internal Medicine
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Poodle Blue

This manuscript was submitted to the April 2019 Arts in Medicine theme issue.

Like most times on call, the day had been busy.
I’d been running in circles, my head in a tizzy.
Down in emerge, the situation was grim
With pneumonias, arrests and one ischaemic limb,
I floated around, from one bed to the next,
Though, by the minute, I grew more perplexed.
The cases all had a strange sort of twist
Like a man with leg pain from two broken wrists
Or a child with the flu whose nose has turned green
Each case that I saw was more than it seemed
But closer to midnight I had the strangest case of all
That started, quite simply, with one nurse’s call.
They needed a doctor (quick!) in Bed 22,
So I ran to the door to see what I could do.
But the sight that I found caught me by surprise.
So rare was the patient, I could scarce trust my eyes.
There was a fuzzy blue poodle sitting propped up in bed,
Its nails painted pink and its eyes glowing red.
The canine smiled casually and said, “How do you do?
You must be the doctor. I’m Poodle Blue.”
To which I replied, “What ails you, Miss Poodle?”
“What ails me? Oh, dear. The whole kit and kaboodle!
My tail just won’t wag with the spunk that it did.
And my glitter gets stuck on my eyelashes and lids
There’s a pink discolouration on the soles of my feet
And my fur is all tangled. It just won’t sit neat!”
It took me a moment to piece out my thoughts
As the case was so rare, unprepared I’d been caught.
I’d never had as a patient a talking, walking poodle
Who, despite her ailments, was now humming “Polly Wolly Doodle”
And made clear her dread when her lipstick rubbed off
From the tissue she held to her mouth when she coughed.
But this last piece of the puzzle brought the light to my eyes.
“Aha!” I said suddenly, catching her by surprise.
“Of course! It’s so simple. How did I not see before?”
And I left to gather what was needed for health restored.
And, when I returned, I said with a laugh,
“What you need, Missus Poodle, is a nice, long bath!
I have bubbles and sponges and conditioner and shampoo.
You’ll feel like a new poodle by the time that we’re through!”
And that was what happened, after thirty minutes or so,
We had reversed all of Miss Poodle Blue’s woes.
Her fur was now poofy, and her feet were all clean.
Her eyelids and lashes had the perfect sparkling sheen.
As she left the department, she thanked me out loud,
And the final accomplishment left my heart feeling proud
That I had done good for another on my path,
Even if it was just for a poodle, who needed a bath.

Image credit: blue” by Liz West is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Beatrice Preti, MD Beatrice Preti, MD (5 Posts)

Fellow Physician Contributing Writer

Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University

Beatrice Preti is a PGY-4 fellow in medical oncology at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University in London, Ontario.