Sunday 5 February 2012

The Sunday Night Dreads

At the end of a weekend you always like to feel you’ve done something with the time given. Whether you’ve lazed around doing feck-all as planned or walked Mount Brandon on Saturday and climbed Carrantouhill on Sunday at least having a memory of something done is good. Unfortunately for me I have to work most Saturdays and end up Sunday evening wishing it was Saturday again and another day off to look forward to. Adding in the usual Sunday night dread of Monday coming, a throw-back to school days no doubt, can make this an evening full of wishful thinking. Tonight is no different. Freddie is beside me digging into a meal of chicken, wraps, sliced cheese, apple quarters and a cup of tomato soup. Of course Fred is a man of taste: the cheese is emmental from The Little Cheese Shop in Dingle and the soup is Cully and Sully’s Creamy of Tomato and Basil no less. He’s funny with his food, if he gets a taste of something he likes he’ll eat it over and over again for weeks at an end. A substitute won’t do, if he’s not sure something is the real McCoy he’ll sniff at it and if it doesn’t pass the smell test it’s rejected. This current combination has been on the go since at least last summer. We reckon its far better for him to be eating than just picking at his food. Looking at him now, he’s lining a wrap with soup, cheese and chicken then demolishing it in seconds flat. Man vs. Food wouldn’t get a look in.

Yesterday evening I wasn’t so lucky…I was sitting on his hospital bed whilst he slept, waking occasionally to see what was going on around him with no interest in food. We had to take him over again on Friday evening less than two weeks since he was last in. It wasn’t too dramatic an evening thankfully for him and he was sitting up eating an apple when I left at 9pm. The shot of Lorazepam had to be given during the night however as he had further two seizures after falling asleep and this drug always takes his appetite for the next day. It also wrecks him and he usually sleeps much as possible the next day. Having said all the he did wake for a good while Saturday evening to watch some DVDs and share some of my chips from the restaurant. But it was the same old routine for us… me leaving Lisa and Freddie at the hospital to go home to look after Ruby; that now familiar early morning trip over to the hospital with flasks of fresh coffee not knowing what I’m going to find when I arrive.

As always the care and love we get from the nursing staff is wonderful. This time I noticed that they all looked tired and they were. All these cutbacks and early retirements have left the wards really short staffed. At times this doesn’t matter but when they are busy the staff are really, really stretched. As one nurse said to me ‘I don’t know why I do this anymore.’ To have someone who does their job so well say something like this is really indicative of the direction our public health service is going. Ticking off your best staff isn’t a good way to improve the health service Minister.

The children’s ward was packed with kids of all shapes and sizes. As the porter was wheeling Freddie up from the A&E a Down’s syndrome kid in a wheelchair was coming down the corridor. He pulled the ventilator out of his mouth;

“Hi George” he shouted, happy to see the porter.

“Hi lad” George replied, then asking “what about Torres?” 

The kid pulled the ventilator out again:

“Torres is a bollocks” he said to laughter all round and off he went, ventilator in place again. 

Amid all the chaos humour reigned and is much needed on such nights on a children’s ward. The private rooms were all sick with little infants, three of whom were taken to Dublin by ambulance to try and cure their illnesses. One of these kids was from a traveller family and all the relations from miles around had gathered in the hospital. There really is comfort in numbers and to see so many people arriving to give support to the parents was lovely. A load of the men were sitting on the broken beds by the exit from the ward. When passing I caught the eye of one, I nodded at him. He nodded back, no need for words we both knew why we were there.

The result of the two night stay in hospital was that our weekend was interrupted once again. No lie ins, no lazy breakfasts, no jaunt for Muttley in the woods. Ruby escaped to Dingle for yesterday, going to the cinema and sleeping over at her friend Hannah’s. It’s important for us that her life isn’t affected too much by what’s happening with Freddie, I just wish she didn’t return like a bag of cats. To top it all off today she developed a cold sore on her travels. How can she go to school with a carbuncle on her lips?

Oh the Sunday night dreads.

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