And suddenly, without realising, without wanting, without warning, we have become a community. Complete strangers (except for Rosie*), nodding to each other at first, smiling, gentle waves. Then the odd few words, longer conversations, and eventually we are all on first name terms. All thrown together with one thing in common, our Mothers. And Hospital. That's two things.
Twice a day we meet on the stairs or on one of the long corridors and discuss how each of our loved ones is or isn't making progress. We have become a support group for each other, brothers and sisters in arms. Some of the others live quite a distance away and can only make one trip a day. I'm fortunate to live close to the hospital and can spend quite a bit of time there.
I have become the darling of the Acute Stroke Unit, the older ladies seem to love me, true, they have all suffered a stroke recently, (except Ma), still, despite the bald head, tattoos and hard-man strut (hahaha) the ladies all want a piece of me. I'm as yet not quite sure which piece. Nancy, from Co. Clare has taken quite the shine to me and waves frantically from her bed at the end of the ward as soon as she sees me.
Ma is still waiting to get her pacemaker. She picked up another infection in hospital which is causing the delay. The mood can be very low at times. But yesterday she had me in tears of laughter telling me of an incident earlier that morning. She had just come back from the X-Ray dept where they were checking her leg for possible causes of the infection. As she sat back on her bed a young doctor came to examine her foot. She said he seemed to be getting quite flustered and was saying stuff like "When did this lesion appear? No, this one here, this new strange lump on your foot?" Now, ma is quite blind and couldn't see what he was talking about and started to get upset. The doc hurried off and returned with a nurse and both of them again examined her foot. After a few minutes the nurse says "Sarah, have you been eating chocolates?" Yes, says the Ma, Maltesers. One of the chocolates had ended up in her slipper and had melted onto her foot!
(*Rosie's Ma is one of the other patients. I dated Rosie when we were about 14 or 15 yrs old and didn't think she'd remember me as I used to have quite the head of curls back then, but she did.)