Bombs exploded on a commuter train and Pat’s mother was literally blown over by a storm when she left mass today, ten years ago. I was in a taxi on the way back into Madrid, having given a talk at a University just outside of the city, when Pat rang me really worried. She had heard about the bombs and wanted to know whether I was alright. She was also really worried about her mother who had to go into hospital.
I went into the hospital to visit Pádraig today, the hospital that he has been in for the past four months today, only interrupted by a few weeks over the New Year in the UKE. I was not really worried. In a way, and for the time being, there is no need to be worried about Pádraig’s physical condition. He is relatively stable at the moment. There have been few surprises. His breathing is ok, his heartbeat is fine, there have been no infections, his temperature is fine. There are even small but noticeable improvements in the way he can move his limbs and in the way he can react to requests.
Then I realized that going into hospital has become my life, being in hospital Pádraig’s. Four months in Hamburg today, following four months in Beaumont, following just over two weeks in Cape Cod Hospital. I cried my eyes out on the way, not because I was worried, but because I am still not able to cope with the enormity of what happened. Sometimes I
think, I should just grab him, lift him out of his bed, and walk out with him. This 23-year old does not belong into a hospital bed. We should not worry about the figures on the monitors showing his heart beat. We should be worried about which person his heart is beating for, that they would look out after each other. and never ever being tempted to break each other’s heart. He should be out of breath after a good swim, not because he sat out in the viva-la-Thekla for four hours. He should be drinking Guinness, Vodka and Wine, not being fed liquid food of a definitely unattractive colour.
Luckily, two really good friends of Padraig’s were here for a visit who brought up our spirits and allowed us to have ‘normal’ conversations. I would never have met them in my life had it not been for Pádraig. They would never even had thought talking to me had it not been for him.
Patrick spent a few months during his transition year all by himself in Berlin in the German Olympic Training Centre, training with some of most talented German swimmers. On his first day there, he rang us from a tram (we were in Leitrim) in a panic saying he had gone in the wrong direction – an experience that all of us who have come to Hamburg because of Pádraig are quite familiar with. Against all odds, he found his way back. A few months later, he won in a swimming competition against all odds, and to the surprise of his coach who couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw this young, laid back, tall and thin fellow beat her champions. “Willkommen in Berlin” is one of my favourite songs by Udo Lindenberg, it’s also the title of his musical running in Berlin.
Schritte ins Niemandsland.
Mit leichten Fuß durch die Nebelwand,
wo vor dir noch keiner war,
und was vor dir noch keiner sah!
Schreib’ die Gesetze neu,
und bleibe nur dir selber treu.
Der crazy Mann geht mit lockerem Gang
unter grünen Linden lang.
Seid willkommen in Berlin!
Ihr Verrückten gehört da hin.
Komm, wir brauchen den Wahnsinn.
Today’s German Music Tip
From Udo Lindenberg’s Hinterm Horizont – Berlin, the musical
The German word/phrase/verse of the day
Das ist ja der glatte Wahn!