My Incredible Journey Part Six: The Purpose of My Stay

Thursday: I am further examined.  They suspect a blood clot on my lungs.  There are other possibilities, but they want to ensure the most serious is eliminate first.

As the day progresses, I begin to feel the purpose of my hospital stay is not to do with the pains & their causes at all.

I look as two radiographers prop up an old lady with cushions, tenderly addressing her & trying to make her more comfortable.

Twice I see a very busy doctor gently steering Joan (an elderly lady walking around in just a t-shirt, cardigan & pants, as she’s not supposed to get out of bed) back to her bed, joking with her & her soothing her agitation & confusion.

I watch an experienced orderly, nearing retirement, instructing her grand-daughter, a recent starter, on how to clean a commode frame.  Her pride & professionalism – her commitment to the task & sense of responsibility for its results – were audible. 

These moments reduce me to tears.  Pride; compassion; care; dignity – these people are unsung heroes.  Forget privileged celebrities who have the time & money to do charity work – these people should be recognised by our honours system.  It is they – not our politicians – who have earned the right to be called honourable.

I am in here to see these moments.  It re-ignites memories – that I’d sadly forgotten – of my epiphany last summer.  Having almost lost my life in July, I very quickly re-assessed my priorities.  My whole attitude to life shifted even more so than it had in the previous months since my breakdown.  Yet these moments, as they are inclined to, slip from view; their poignancy & resonance wane & drift.  Being back in the same physical environment – witnessing & experiencing the same connectedness – has served as a much-needed reminder of my values & priorities at a time when I’m reaching a crossroads in terms of future direction.

It’s not bad luck but good fortune that has bought me here again.

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