There it was again, today. I have not lost my eye for the German that amazes everybody but the German. (I wonder: does that make me a foreigner?) When I was at university in Cologne, Isabel Allende gave a talk on Magic Realism. You know, flying tree, all sorts of strange things happening – and people not blinking an eye at it because it is all part of their daily life, that’s the reality they see, while we see magic. To illustrate how this concept works, Allende said that she had talked to a few friends in Cologne about this magic realism for Germans who look at a bus time table: not only do they believe it when it says that the bus will leave at 14:27, the bus actually does leave at that time. Or the absolute certainty Germans have that when they put a letter into a letter box in Cologne in the evening, that it will arrive in Berlin the following day. Again, for her the incredible thing was not just that they believed this magic ‘story’, the story actually becomes real a thousand times a day when letters posted in Cologne actually do arrive the next day in Berlin.
So there was the post box on the hospital wall. And it said that letters will arrive tomorrow anywhere in Germany if posted here today. This is magic realism.
Not sure whether I mentioned this before: as the therapists work with Pádraig in the morning, we arranged last week to meet with the physio and the occupational therapist once a week, on Thursdays, which is great. We’ll be getting an update every week on how he is doing and we will learn if there is anything we can do to help.
Today, we also had a meeting with his speech therapist who will also meet with us again next week when she will be working with Pádraig. It is so important that he keeps being challenged, that he feels that there are many people helping him with all sorts of different things and exercises, and that he really has to keep trying himself the most. I believe that the more exposure to all sorts of different experiences he has, the better for his brain stimulation. And the tracheostomy prevents him from breathing through his mouth and having the sensation of air flowing through his mouth and nose; he cannot really smell; he cannot taste much in his mouth – until the trachea goes.
Three new things happened today affecting Pádraig:
- His stockings arrived yesterday and it turns out that they were really custom made for him. They came in a box with his name on it, and they even have a sewn-in label with his name on it. It must have been so difficult to put them on, but the nurses managed to do it. They look fabulous.
- We discovered that Patrick could lift his toes and then push down our hand with his toes – when we asked him to do so. At least five times in a row today.
- And the third great news today was that he squeezed both of Pat’s hands when she asked him to do so – with both his (good) left hand and his not so good left. – We’ll try all of this again tomorrow. Isn’t it wonderful?
The Snámh is coming up soon, there are just a few days to go. So I thought I’d share a snippet from an email one of the swimmers, Jen, sent me tonight (together with the recording of Caoimhe’s interview on the BBC):
Meanwhile, all hands are on deck for the Snámh this weekend, there’s a real buzz about the place and everyone is really looking forward to it. I’ve been working fairly closely with Aodhán on the safety side of things. The support has been incredible – just to give you a small insight, I rang up an ambulance supply company last week looking for some advice about how best to avoid getting hypothermia (!) and once they heard about Pádraig and the swim, the freely donated 10 foil blankets to us! No questions, no hassle, they just wanted to support. So kind.
- Caoimhe was tonight on Irish-language BBC Blas, speaking about Pádraig (click on the link to listen to the recording).
- There was an article about Pádraig in the University Times.
- Today, the Irish Echo, the biggest Irish newspaper in the US, published in New York, had a front page and second page story about Pádraig.
- Gerry Adams was interviewed on Cormac ag a Cúig on RTE Raidió na Gaeltachta (hope to have the recording tomorrow).
- The Irish Times reported in an article on Pádraig on the absolutely amazing statement by his insurance company: they now seem to say that they never denied cover, even though they never paid, and said the opposite in letters and emails to us!
Today’s German Music Tip
Santiano, Gott muss ein Seemann sein (2013). They won this year’s best “Volkstümliche Musik” German Music Echo Award – a bit of compensation for not getting into the Eurovision Song Context, representing Germany.
The German word/phrase/verse of the day