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images“Weg” is a really interesting German word.

It’s a bit like Chinese – depending on how you pronounce it or make it sound, it means different things.

If you pronounce it ‘vague’ it means ‘way’ or ‘path’, whereas if you pronounce it ‘veck’ it means ‘gone’. You can see the connection between the two words –

Well, today we went ‘veck’. It almost felt like abandoning Pádraig. Not one of us, the two of us left the hospital. Two nurses had come in and told us, in their really nice but firm way, to ‘get lost’ for a bit, catch a breath of fresh air, and go ‘die Füße vertreten’ (‘stretch our legs’ – funny how it’s ‘feet’ in German and ‘legs’ in English).

Pádraig had been really good during the night. Even when we turned him in the middle of the night, when he usually takes a bit of time to settle back down, he had no problems whatsoever. By now, we knew the nurses a bit, and the nurses know Pádraig.

So we left the ward and looked for the way down to the ground floor.

Big signs to the elevator. No visible signs to the stairs. Just the emergency exit signs. No encouraging here to ‘stretch your legs’ or ‘Füße’ vertreten. – When we had walked downstairs and I turned around to see how I would find the stairs back up again, it was even more difficult: you had to go into the Blood Transfusion section and from there take a side door… incredible.

So I walked Pat to the car. She wanted to do some washing and then start to pack our stuff for the big move. We agreed. I should go straight back to the Pádraig.

When I got back to the room, Pádraig had been washed, the nurses had changed the bed linen, and they had positioned him very very comfortably on his side, breathing great, no bother. It was really good and re-assuring to see that he had been good enough to get trough  all this, which is hard work for him, with the help of the nurses.

Then my phone rang and Pat told me that her key would not open the door to our apartment anymore. – Three hours later, I had been at the apartment, called an emergency locksmith, and had waited in the cold hall of our apartment building for him to open the door. I had expected what you can see every night on the telly: a few sophisticated tools, a try or two to find the right implements, and then ‘click’ when the door opened. Instead, it tool a full hour with drill, ‘pulls’ and what not. Really, really noisy – and no sign from any of the neighbours. The couple that passed our door and went up the stairs never even blinked… When got back to the hospital, it was dinner time.

Tomorrow is another big day for Pádraig: he’ll have an operation to close the hole in his neck. It has almost closed already by itself and got smaller and smaller over the past few days but it’ll need a couple of stitches to be on the safe side.

After this, his tracheostoma will be history!

After that, it’ll be a really really busy week. In the meantime, the three of us continue to hang out in this small room with the friendly staff and pretty good catering – but no beds for us, instead declining chairs and uncomfortable mattresses on the floor. But we are grateful. Really, really grateful.

Because Pádraig is on his ‘vague’, ‘veck’ from institutional care.