What had been an emergency measure for the weekend has lasted now right into the week. Due to an “outbreak of influenza” in the hospital, visiting has been restricted, and by restricted the hospital authorities mean completely forbidden. On the radio we are hearing that six people have died as a result of the virus, eleven people are in a critical condition, and two other hospitals have gone into a complete lockdown. In spite of the radio and television broadcasts people are still flocking to the hospital in the hope of visiting sick relatives. Every case is urgent and tensions are high at the doors. Some people are now saying that they don’t believe this to be the flu at all. Some suspect that it might even be the Ebola virus, and others still are suggesting that the foreign security guards the hospital has hired have brought it over with them. There is nothing as predictable as stupidity.

On the inside we appreciate that people want to see us; that people are concerned about their loved ones, but the hospital is doing all that it can to keep people safe. Anger and mob rule at the doors of the hospital is good for no one. Of course it will be good if mum gets her clean pyjamas and dad gets a chocolate bar and a new crime novel, but it is more important that this zombie outbreak doesn’t spread further than it already has. I for one quite like having my brains on the inside of my head. The chaos at the doors has, on more than one occasion, resulted in the Gardaí being called to the scene.

Little acts of kindness have gone a long way. With the relaxation of (or the inability to enforce) the smoking and vaping ban a number of inmates have been able to get through the security cordon and courier parcels from relatives at the door to patients in the wards. The various escape committees throughout the hospital have been instrumental in the running of this Underground Railroad. What people don’t realise on the outside is that this present crisis has pulled the hospital community together. We are all doing our bit. Without this brilliant little smuggling operation I wouldn’t have had met half of the fantastic people I have met in this place.


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