My sister was at work today, so this morning I went to the hospital on my own. It’s a 45-minute walk or thereabouts, but it was OK because it was a beautiful day – clear and crisp and bright and ballsy, like the face of an enchanting woman in an ill-fated dream.

My mum was asleep when I got there, as she was throughout last night’s visit. Indeed, doctors are concerned that she’s becoming a little overly reliant on the morphine, and consequently sleeping too much, so they’ve taken away her self-dosing clicker. They’re also concerned that she’s suffering a little too much pain in her stomach so they’re going to give her another scan this afternoon. They’re worried she may still have some peritonitis.

In the meantime, she’s in and out of consciousness, but mostly sleeping.

During one short period of lucidity, we had this exchange:

‘Am I in a lunatic asylum?’

‘No, you’re just in hospital. Does it feel like a lunatic asylum?’

She nodded.

‘Some good news. Carole [my other sister] is coming up tomorrow.’

‘Another lunatic.’

Later, on coming round again, I asked her how she was feeling.

‘I feel like I’m in a lunatic asylum.’

‘You’re not, I promise. Trust me.’

‘Ha.’

Then she started singing, in a deep croak, like a severely opiated Deirdre Barlow, ‘Trust in me,’ her tubed-up arm moving like a snake.

Then they kicked me out to examine her wound again. Then things became annoying.

Basically it went like this:

Ten minutes passed.

DOCTOR: You can go back in now.

I went back in.

MALE NURSE: Please wait outside. I’ll come and get you when we’re ready.

I went back out.

Fifteen minutes passed.

FEMALE NURSE: You can go back in now.

I went back in.

SAME MALE NURSE: Please wait outside. I will come and get you.

My mouth fell open.

FEMALE NURSE: Sorry. My fault. I told him to come back in.

Twenty minutes passed.

FEMALE NURSE: Sorry. He forgot to come and get you. He asked me to apologise.

Visiting hours were over by then. As was the beautiful day. I collected my bag, said goodbye to my mum and left the hospital in a vicious hailstorm.

And for a while there, I’ll be honest, I was feeling fucking tense.

But it passed.

We all make mistakes.

We all have our off-days.

Mum’s scan is at 4.

Fingers crossed.

About the Author

I am Karl Webster. I wrote these words. If you liked them, you’ll be overjoyed to know that there are plenty more where they came from. So you should definitely sign up to my newsletter if you haven’t already.

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