Earlier today, when coming up the hill from the Phoenix Park to James’s Street, I bumped into the family of a new friend. This new friend and I met while I was in St. James’s Hospital, and over the length of my stay we got to spend a good bit of time together. What a gentleman; a real old school sort of chap with a distinguished beard, well-spoken, and a kind manner. Hospitals are strange places at the best of times, and we were all on drugs (not often I ever get to say that), so we all learned to forgive the odd behaviour in others. It may be the effects of the illness, it may be the drugs, or it may just be normal behaviour. We didn’t ask questions. My new friend could be quite forgetful, imagine outrageous things, and often went for walks around the ward in the wee small hours. As I was enjoying rather large doses of morphine I appreciated the company of a forgetful person, I love outrageous things, and – as a seasoned insomniac – I rather enjoyed the late night chats and walks. It was something to do, and wonderful company.

Earlier today I was enjoying my freedom in the park. It was a lightly breezy spring afternoon, and I hadn’t given much thought to my recent extended stay in the hospital. Usually when I go back to the hospital to have a dressing changed I drop up and visit my new friend, but on the last visit he was gone. As I heard that he had been given good news I assumed that he had gone home. That gave me something to be happy about. On the way home today I ran into his family coming from the hospital. I crossed over the road to greet them, and discovered that he had been taken into the Intensive Care Unit. He hadn’t gone home. Tonight he is still in the ICU and is in an altogether poor condition by all accounts. For obvious reasons I’m not going to share my new friend’s name, or the details of his family, but I do ask this of you – that you pray for him and his family. God will know who you mean. He has been in my thoughts a great deal, and I would like to see him pull through. Remember also his family, and all families in a similar position. It is not an easy place to be.

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