I got up in the middle of the night. It was dark and cold outside. We made our way up to the hospital. It was completely deserted. No-one to be seen. Until we got up to the ward. A therapist had come in at 5am to get Pádraig ready. Over the weekend they had given him a ‘bath’. He looked his best.
There were many people on the ward who wouldn’t have been there on a regular Monday morning. They were there to say good-bye to Pádraig, to wish him all the best, to pray for a safe journey. Good people. Decent people. The ones who would do things differently if they were in charge.
Not the ones who wonder why on earth people are even thinking about brining their loved ones to a place where they’d get timely and appropriate treatment and care; not the ones who tell you that, sure, the only things your loved one need are “medicine, sedation, and a PEG”. Try to make this up – I’m sure you couldn’t.
Here we are. A year ago, tonight, I was trying to find a place to stay. I came that prepared. A&O beside the train station. On my own. Pádraig on a respirator in the Schön-Klinik. Between then and now, he nearly died, at least once. But he also started to eat (little and soft), to communicate (yes/no), to breath (no O2 most of the time), to use an unblocked cannula / speech valve (all the time); he rarely has infections, no bed sores, no dislocated shoulder blades. He receives therapies every day, including physio, OT, music, and, I think too little, speech. He has been seen by a dentist several times, a urologist, a surgeon, and a dermatologist.
He most definitely needs more than medicine, sedation, and a PEG.
And so do all the other people in Ireland who are in a similar situation to Pádraig’s.
On a different note, and before I forget. For some reason, I thought of Saints when I was walking to the apartment tonight. The strange thing is that I’m not even sure whether I believe in Saints. What I thought was that, maybe, Saints are not the ones who do all the good stuff at all. Maybe it’s the ones that make us do good.
What do you think?
To finish off, here is a short video clip that looks and sounds like taken straight out of a science fiction movie. In fact, it’s a message the Irish Government wants you to hear just before you leave the country.