They do the rounds here just after seven. So getting up time is early, at around 6h30. Not on weekends. We expected to leave today, some time today. By now I know you won’t be surprised that we did not. We got an extension until Wednesday, when they will be able to check whether everything has healed, is fixed and working.

Staying in this room is really strange. After a while, you begin to detach from the life “out there”. Your rhythm is that of the round, the cleaning lady, breakfast, lunch, Kaffeetrinken, and Abendbrot (literally). In between there is washing, exercise, nurses, doctors, medication, therapists. More than enough to keep you busy, to feel tired, to wonder whether there really is another world out there. And then send us home (hammy…).

Just to make sure there still is, I went out for half an hour and had a look around a supermarket here on the UKE grounds. I walked around a bit dizzy and dazed: what was all this stuff for? Why would anyone buy any of this?

Back on the ward, it’s almost like home: nice, helpful people. All one would need is here. And, schwuppdiwupp, you realise how quickly one can get institutionalised, no longer able to function in a world where you have to take your own decisions, where you don’t get your day organised by someone else. A world full of supermarkets,

Patrick is clearly recovering from the operation. They decided that a drainage that had been implanted could be taken out. The wound looks clean and it’ll be a matter of days when the clips holding it together can be taken out. He is getting a different antibiotic now and we have decided first to reduce and then stop the anti-seizure medication. Today, for the first time since the operation, he was back eating, back lifting his left arm by himself when he was doing the exercises with me.

We were commenting that tomorrow is the day we’d have reached our destination on the camino. We’d go back to Madrid, have a fantastic dinner with a bottle of wine, and get ready to leave for Dublin. – To be honest, this looking-back stuff makes me so sad, I wonder whether it’s a good idea to do it at all. Remember what are, in our memory, the good times.

Because: these are hard times, very hard and testing, but these are also good times. In June of 2013, I could not have imagined Pádraig being responsive, being able to swallow, eat a little, breathe without a tracheostomy, squeeze my hand, and indicate yes and no with his tongue to (simple) questions. He is with us and that is the greatest gift.

Once you manage the following 5th step, it’ll be all downhill towards the ten steps to germanise yourself…

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Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 20.33.28There was one item in the supermarket today I almost bought: it was the latest edition of the German magazine “Titanic”, not quire as radical as Charlie Hebdo, but similar to the Irish “Phoenix” or the US “Onion”. On its title page, Titanic has a cartoon with Angela Merkel saying “Mishap during Remembrance Service: Merkel unveils statue of Hitler too early.”

Inside the magazine, there is a picture of her and Mr Putin where he asks Chancellor Merkel: “Did you ever kill anyone?” and she answers: “There is no opposition in Germany.”

It’s all very close to the bone, but I like the kind of humour…

Tomorrow, we’ll all wake up to a day of hope, the day that death was beaten by one of us.