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  • Sharee Johnson

Today I am a Patient

By Sharee Johnson

Today I am a patient

I sit and wait

Have I got all the paperwork? Did I remember my medicare card?

Hello Sharee, how are you?

Please fill out this form, shouldn’t be too long now

I wonder what her name is?

Hello Sharee, how are you?

I just have some COVID questions for you, not too many

She was friendly, I like it when they tell me their name

Come through Sharee, I just have a few questions for you

Yes, yes, no, no, no, no

Come through, pop this gown on and keep warm

There is a heat pack here, put it on the back of your hand

It will help your veins stand up

That’s a funny expression, veins standing up

Hi Sharee, my name’s Kelli, can we check a few things

Yep, yep, no, no, no.

Thanks Sharee, we can go through now

Oh how’s my driving, sorry about that.

Here’s Sharee Gail. This is Gail Sharee. Hi Gail

I wonder who all these other people are?

Hi Sharee, how are you?

Oh hi John! Good thanks

Finally, someone I know! I was wondering where he was…

Hi Sharee, I’m Jo I’m your anaesthetist today

This might happen, this might happen, it’s unlikely, I will look after you

This will sting a bit just for a second

Ouch, don’t look, my hand really hurts

There you go, this will happen now

I wonder who that is loitering around in the corner

Maybe he’s a student, I wonder what he’s learning, who he’s watching

Gee there’s a lot of people and equipment in here

Oh hi Gail, yep fine thanks

Do you work full time Sharee?

John replies for me. He’s the only person here who I have met before, who knows me

Hi Sharee, I’m Tracey , how are you feeling?

Ok thanks Tracey

That’s amazing I’m in recovery, I didn’t even feel the bed move rooms

You can sit up a bit when you feel ready Sharee

We will get you a cuppa and a sandwich soon

I feel fine, I wonder what happened…I wonder what the time is?

John arrives, everything is fine Sharee, this is what we saw, you are fine.

Phew, thank you. Thank you….

How are you feeling Sharee? How was your cuppa?

Here are some instructions for the rest of today, don’t make any decisions today

I will call your person now if you’d like to get dressed.

Ok Tracey great, thanks.

Wow… I don’t even feel like anything happened

And yet so much happened…

My procedure was delayed for 3 months by COVID

I lay vulnerable on a hospital bed, undressed surrounded by strangers

I didn’t know the names or the roles of some of those strangers surrounding me

while I was medically put to sleep (controlled)

I was moved from room to room without knowing what would happen next

I met eight people in three hours, seven of whom I will probably never meet again

I was injected with unknown substances, the canula making all sorts of things possible

I was internally investigated with consent but without awareness

I can’t help wonder what it’s like for people who have trauma, anxiety, another language,

no education, who are alone?

I was cared for, respected and kept safe

I was addressed by my name, seen and heard, treated with dignity

My questions were answered with warmth, building my confidence

The process was painless, efficient and effective

The information I needed was shared with me by the responsible person, John, without delay

I walked out feeling cared for, steady on my feet and grateful

Being a patient is never easy, there is always vulnerability

Being a patient means having a problem, being reliant on the help of others

Even when things go smoothly being a patient is not what we planned

Healthcare is a big complex universe of problems and pain

Doctors and nurses pride themselves on solving problems and relieving pain

Helping us with our problems and our pain is sometimes their reason for being

They are doing the best they can

They are not perfect, sometimes they need our help.

Sometimes they forget to tell us their name, or what will happen next

They forget that we haven’t seen all this equipment before, that we are scared

They are tired, they have their own problems and their own pain,

Sometimes they are scared too

When I was a patient this time

I felt vulnerable and safe… all at the same time.

This time I was lucky, things went smoothly

Eight friendly people helped me solve my problem, I felt their kindness and their respect

I hope they felt my gratitude … and my respect

We all have a role to play in compassionate healthcare

It is our human connection that keeps us alive

How will you play your role?

To find out more about Sharee's work, head to

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