Not so much looking down as across..

Friday, June 25, 2010

View from a hospital bedroom

If this Blog ever sees the light of day it will be a miracle and a denial of modern technology that suggests you should know what you are doing. This is being composed on a temperamental iPhone on a dodgy connection from a hospital bedroom beside Dublin airport. My daughter Lucy is recovering from a minor operation - if there is any such thing as a 'minor' operation that involves a general anaesthetic. Happily she is recovering well.

I feel genuinely sorry for Lucy's generation. They take mobile phones and iPhones, the Internet and Google for granted. I have to pinch myself every day. I don't take this new technology for granted. I live in fear we will wake up some day to find it is all gone and it has been a dream - a little like the wealth we thought had during the days of the Celtic Cheetah (maybe we were all cheated..). Life was travelling so fast it was a blur. If Aesop was still around I assume he would compose an appropriate tale and perhaps post it as a Blog.

From the hospital bedroom I can look across at the state of the art consultants suites. Maybe we do have something to show after all for the go go years. Maybe we did not blow it all. The private hospital is situated in the middle of a private estate with it's own private road. The rooms are better than the Four Seasons Hotel and no doubt cost a lot more.

We are thrilled with the service and excellence of comfort and care. Hospitals must be one of the few remaining quasi monopolies left. You do not appear in reception and ask for a midweek special, or check the price if dinner is not included. People who haggle over a ten euro hotel service charge do not even blink when the bill arrives for hundreds of euro.

Through the window I can see the planes as they take off and land in nearby Dublin Airport - the building we Irish love and hate in equal measure. I predict that in the distant future in a faraway land a kindly despot will build an airport building full of music and light, with running water rushing over mini waterfalls and tropical birds singing in the trees. While waiting to take off or waiting for a friends to arrive you will be able to take a shower and sauna, a massage and haircut, and enjoy five star fine dining.

I am after all a child of the fifties when the airport seemed to be the ultimate in excitement and allure. There was silver service dining and tea was served in fine bone china. Generally airports did not resemble a scene from Schindler's List. Human beings can be funny and gracious when allowed. When herded like cattle we display less endearing characteristics.

From the window I can see hundreds of new apartments. They seem attractive. Many have window boxes and bicycles on the patios (is this just an Irish thing?). Have you noticed? The flowers this year have been at their most vivid. Purple and blue are the colours that are making the strongest statement after our long, wet cold winter.

The hospital room boasts a screen beside the bed you would not even get flying first class on a long haul flight. Yesterday the three of us got to see the end of the longest game of tennis in history when John Isner defeated Nicolas Mahut in the fifth set after almost eleven hours. Well done both. Vive la France! By comparison tennis players earn a lot less than footballers - but that is for another blog.

From our room we see the comings and goings of patients around us. A lady we met yesterday has just been wheeled into the room across from us with a new knee she just received this morning. Patients and visitors alike are bound by a common vulnerability and humanity.

We will depart tomorrow around midday and leave behind this parallel world of swabs and blood, of hope and suffering, of kindness and service. Is there any more worthwhile job in the world than that of a nurse? Both my sisters were nurses and I am so proud of them. The day is now coming to a close and looking out the hospital window I see the lights of the cars on the M50 who seem oblivious to our existence and whizz past in hurried ignorance.


  1. I hope your daughter is recovered.
    It is very humbling spending time in a hospital, we really dont't understand the dedication until we are in their care.
    The private health experience is a totally different world, our public health system is still struggling to provide but I admire everyone who dedicates their lives to caring.

  2. Thanks Brigid. Lucy is recovering quickly. She has youth on her side! Appreciate the kind wishes!

  3. I hope your daughter is doing well, Padraic. God bless the nurses. Where would we be without them?

    Thanks a bunch for dropping by my blog. It's a pleasure connecting with bloggers from around the world.

  4. Thanks Patricia for your kind wishes. All is well. I enjoy your insights and good humour.