'Flash' writing anthology about chronic pain - submissions welcome!

Tag: medical (Page 3 of 4)

‘The Night Shift’, by Libby R.

When he was dying, I swallowed a CoCodamol before bedtime as if it were hot chocolate. I craftily attributed my zen-like calm in the face of helping Dad as he pissed blood into a plastic pot at 3am – I don’t know what’s happening to me, he said, again and again – to my sensible study of The Tibetan Book of The Dead. It was a lie, but a lie that helped.

  • by Libby R.

Author website: The Diary I Didn’t Write


‘A Double Etheree on Living with M.E.’, by Linda Cosgriff

man is
ill. Whispered
of what he once was
are all that sustain him. 
He has no hope. His aching
visions of what should have been kill
comfort. What could have been is a lie. 
He has no hope. He has no future. He
has only now. Life took revenge for a
life too well lived. He was a man out
of time. Now, there is nothing but
time. Resilient, he bears
it. He will not die. He
will suffer, always. 
He will not die. 
He does not,


  • by Linda Cosgriff

Author website

United Kingdom


I went to see occupational therapist today, as I am having troubles with my daily chores.

She asked some challenging stuff and burst into tears when I talked about my medical past. Then she told me her most intimate and painful story. I held her hand and we shared a beautiful moment of vulnerability together. Two women who have never met before and should conduct the conversation in a strictly professional, clinical manner, holding hands and crying. 
I told her how precious it feels to be able to share our stories, to treat each other’s broken pieces with understanding, respect and dignity.

Then she put some bandages on my hands and taught me how to stand, how to sit and how to bend. She welcomed me softly into my new reality where little mundane things carry huge meanings. Today I feel I’ve finally put my life vest on.

– by Katarina Juvancic



‘A Hidden Truth’, by Amy Hunter

After struggling with ear problems all my life and having two surgeries for Cholesteatoma in 2008 and 2015, a recent flare up has caused months of pain that is unexplained and has baffled my consultants. Having this on top of my original ear problems and cluster headaches sometimes the pain can make days difficult. This is just a glimpse into what happens on a daily basis. 

Me. Pain. Intertwined. 
Days. Coping. Bad days. Flare ups. 
People. Confused. Understanding Difficult. 
Hidden disease. 

Medicine. No effect. Doctors. Befuddled. 
Decisions. Hospitals. Waiting. Pain. 
Hidden disease. 

Explaining. Constant. Tiring. 
Symptoms. Unexplained. Words. Lost. 

Hidden disease. 

Tired. Exasperated. Threshold. Pushed. Sometimes. Beyond Limits.
Tired. Sore. Always. Hidden Truth. 
Tired. Battle on. 

Hidden disease. 

People. Unconditional Love. 
Caring. Trying to understand. 

Hidden disease. 

Pain. Intertwined. 
Always there.
Nothing seen. 

Hidden disease. 

This is me.


  • by Amy Hunter


United Kingdom

‘Encroachment’, by Mary Marie Dixon

Wedged between sky and river
The birch, plaiting scarred spines, joins
Ochre leaves to Cirrus clouds.

In the wedge of bed and window
Your wounded limbs endure
A throbbing rhythm to misting dew

Autumn wraps a sultry cage
Of alizarin crimson.
She entwines the rising bone

To breach the slough of heaven
Branches thunder and crack
Under heavy snow 

And escape still enclosed in 
Huey blues Your mind warps 
And wraps itself with morphine


‘Twenty Minutes’ (Anon.)

Twenty minutes; one thousand two hundred seconds, nothing really, unless you’re waiting, waiting to be told about something you may not want to hear. I feel different; my body is telling me there is a problem. Seventeen have passed. I’m sitting in a room where time has stood still. I’m surrounded by a sea of unknown faces, all waiting with me. Some are biting their lips; others stare into space like I am. There are only two outcomes, positive, or negative. Polar opposites. “Steven? Come on through.” I follow with my heart in my mouth. “Take a seat.” I do as I’m told. She is smiling at me. But it’s not giving me any comfort. She begins talking, but her words disappear into white noise. My heart has left my mouth and disappeared into the pit of my stomach. I have the answer. Now all I have are questions.



  • anonymous author


‘Swans and Swallows’, by Mary Marie Dixon

(After Tennyson’s ‘The Dying Swan’)

In this wasting plain a
Wedge of swans
Tangle in water
So deep her eyes
In the gyring ferment

I am impotent
Warming blankets only burn
The stab

I cannot touch her
I cannot reach her
To this berth I cannot go
She writhes

White feathers
Drop around her bed
Swans wedge her in again
Swimming violently
Their bowing heads
Surface again

This churning of webbed feet
In water I cannot enter nor fathom
There is no present no past no future
Only some existence that is now and not now

She would wish to die
I would wish to die

Explicitly she does not wish to die
The room is swirling with the rotation of swans
Specters with no beauty
Shape-shifters leading to another world
No end no beginning
Still outside we hear
In thunder birds
A swirling of swallows

  • by Mary Marie Dixon

    United States

‘Hagalaz’, by Ruth V. Chalkley

In Lithuanian, runoti means both “to cut (with a knife)” and “to speak”.

      Hail: Hagalaz
      Pain, loss, suffering, hardship, sickness, crisis.



        Sometimes, some time,



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