A balancing act

By: Dr James MacMillan-Armstrong

I got out of bed, And, once watered and fed,
Went off on my bike down the road,
My job, you see, is to lighten the load,
Of those with some woe, or funny shaped toe.

The first wore a frown – his stool was not brown,
But frothy, and white and not going down,
I questioned him lightly and asked him politely,
Looking for clues re the state of his poos… it came down to booze.

The next was tight lipped. She'd stumbled and tripped.
I had to work hard, to find the trump card,
The reasons are many, you see.
After several suggestions, questions, frustrations,
She told me how many she'd drunk.

The third was a child — she'd never been right,
not from the day she saw her first light.
It needed some tact, but there was no avoiding the fact,
That her mother had drunk a great deal.
By now I was late, something I hate, But they kept coming in still.

The next was young Phil – he wanted a pill,
To stop him feeling so ill.
He asked if I would, I said maybe I could,
But first I must look for a cause. There followed a pause,
Filled only by sighs, which is when I first noticed his eyes,
They were bright golden yellow – not right for a fellow.
His liver was sick – not doing the trick,
Damaged by years of abuse, No longer much use.

Then down the hall came a shout and a call,
A car and a tree had collided.
The driver was out and starting to shout,
His face was a mess, but did later confess,
To drinking, Not thinking,
When heading to work in his car – which was not very far.
A job he'd now lost, at terrible cost,
As beside him lay Bud, now covered in blood,
No longer able to breathe.

With family informed, paperwork done,
And my mind feeling glum,
I took time to gather my thoughts.
Then came Kim – her tale was grim,
Her lover, young Stu and father of two, was funny and loving and kind,
That is ''til night fell –
when things would turn frightful,
…the bruises, the fears, the tears.

Lastly Old Ray – he'd gone the wrong way.
He came with a bag and a grubby old rag,
And asked for some more of the same,
We talked on together, But failed to gather,
The purpose of why he came.
His brain was a fog because of the grog,
What more could I do? My options were few.
I did what I could all the same,

I put down the phone, and headed off home,
The day had been long, and terribly wrong.
I was glad to be getting away.

                -- Dr James MacMillan-Armstrong is a partner at the Fiordland Medical Practice

Recommended safe maximum intake:
Women: maximum 4 units per day; 10 units per week 
Men: 5 units per day; 15 units per week
Adolescents: AVOID as long as possible
Pregnancy: NONE
Everyone: 2 alcohol-free days per week
Alcohol and Drug Helpline 0800 787 979


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