Ireland has Katie Taylor. The Ukraine have Володи́мир Володи́мирович Кличко́ (or: Wladimir Klitschko). We have been watching Katie all week long after her winning another gold medal. More about Wladimir later.
There is a very small leak on our bathroom radiator but it will require a big job to fix it, the man who arrived here at 7am this morning. So he will have to come back. Yes, you guessed it! He will be back, tomorrow morning, 7am. He might have to change the whole radiator.
I became all German this morning and arrived bang on time, at 9:30 on Pádraig’s ward. First news was that there was a delay in the UKE, they might not take him today at all and the ambulance that was going to take him had been cancelled. But then at 10am, word got through (well, they rang) that it was a go. They ordered another ambulance. It arrived just after noon.
Of course, Pádraig did not fit onto the stretcher and when they had finally managed to get the stretcher into the ambulance, they couldn’t close the door. I could, I really could write the script for this movie. So they lifted up his knees a bit until they managed to close the door eventually. The driver, with an Eastern European accent, asked me how tall Pádraig is. When I said: 2.04m, he answered: oh, just like Klitschko. To which I answered: yes, but Pádraig’s arms are longer than Klitschko’s. He: oh!
We took the grand tour. Even leaving the grounds of the Schön-Klinik took almost 10 minutes. And then the driver decided, in honour of Klitschko I suppose, to show us the canals, lakes, and cobble stoned streets of Hamburg. I don’t know Hamburg, but I could have done this trip without the cobble stones and in half the time.
The UKE is like a city in its own right. It has its own roads, its own power station, and a huge amount of buildings.
I had forgotten what it is like to arrive on a ward. It’s an ICU and they were getting ready to suction, that’s what they do when they hear a gargling noise. It’s like a reflex. Nurses must be born with this. We had a good talk, one surgeon after the other came in to explain the procedures, the anaesthetist went through the risks of a full blown general anaesthetic. I had to sign three forms plus one declaring that we are happy for Pádraig’s bone plate to be used to research the reasons why bone plates at times do not re-join with the skull.
When I left the hospital, I didn’t want to. I wanted to stay because I know that Pádraig is so alert now that he knows that he is not in his usual place, that no-one knows him where he is now, and that they are planning this operation on him for tomorrow.
We’ll go there tomorrow morning to make sure all is ok with Pádraig. But before, I’ll pick up Pat from the train station at 1:30am (she just got into Frankfurt – the only affordable and suitable connection from Dublin this evening, and is catching a train north).
Pádraig knows that there are people all over the world thinking of him every day, and especially tonight. He knows that you are sharing your strength, your prayers, your best wishes, your hope, your energy with him. He knows that he’ll get out of this at the other end and that by the end of the week or early next week, it’ll all be a thing of the past, and he’ll feel so much better.