There is a sign here that forbids, amongst other things, excessive swearing. It's a tricky call, that. At one point when a doctor was prodding me to establish what was wrong, excessive would have been difficult to achieve. If, on the other hand, nothing more significant has happened than that the nurse came over to do blood pressure, a full-on Malcolm Tucker barrage would definitely be excessive.
The calling to work in a hospital (or otherwise in healthcare, but it seems to be particularly intense here) must be strong, because some of the stuff that happens here would be enough to put off the average person. A nurse yesterday apologised for being late with painkillers and antibiotics after she had had a short 'negotiation' with one of her other parents that had left her bruised and covered in wee. It was one of those situations where a large number of sensible people are dealing with one unpredictable person, and you could hear them 'woah'-ing as she clearly contemplated doing something naughty. I think that is love - of the 'caritas', Christian sense - in its purest form, with no expectation of anything in return, just doing good and being kind because that is right. It must be a very stern test of even the most dedicated person.
On a lighter note, I am also delighted by the fact that I am now on E bay. This has great joke potential, particularly given the well-established family chatter about putting the baby on eBay. He has been in the hospital, but is not allowed on any of the wards. Presumably that's because they've already met him or at least heard about him, but the net effect is that he is only allowed in a little interview room at one end of the ward. He did not seem bothered in the slightest. To him it was just a new place to sway dangerously, fall into hard objects and otherwise make a nuisance of himself. He has no associations with hospitals. The big one does, though, and my initial reaction to being kept in was to say that neither of them should come at all. This is perhaps to protect them from developing the same sort of long-range negativity I have about this place, the association of those hopeless walks along trackless corridors before and after spending time with an ill relative or friend, the smell, the creaking of the beds.
For some people, the last few days or weeks of life in hospital is a sad end, often made more so by the fact that the person himself only asks to be at home, regardless of the impracticality of that request. That is sad, desperately so, but it is a very different thing to face death knowing it is coming, to be able to make one last unfulfillable request ("I'd like a pint. No? What about just a half?"), to have seen everyone that one last time and to know that it is the last time. For those people, wishing them back is redundant for the most part. Their lives were, and whatever the course of them, that course ends. Mourning someone's passing is right, but celebrating life in this case is easy. Much more difficult to accept is those whose lives end without any of this preparation, without this coming-to-terms, however frightening it might be to think about. In that case the grieving response of wishing them back for one last conversation, one last chance to say sorry or goodbye or thank you makes much more sense.
Sometimes it is only after someone is gone that you quite realise how much they mattered, or how well they understood you. Sometimes it is just a shared moment that you want to say thank you for, or a time they listened when others didn't. Sometimes, it's all of those things. For someone with no belief in life-after-life, the zero-chance-ness of ever putting that right weighs heavy. It would be easy enough to write on here 'tell that person while there is still a chance', but even in this most sentimental of moods I recognise the practical barriers for doing this. But memories of good things passed don't have to be sad memories. Hope - for a future to make more memories of the good things - seems to be the big driver of the sadness. That's the why for all this mindfulness stuff I occasionally spout: it's about 'now'. So instead of living in Hope, let's settle for living in Hathersage.
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought