Tuesday, 6 July 2010

(Kind of) Wish You Were Here

I'll tell you a story about one of the better birthday parties I ever went to. It was Martin's 40th birthday, and he was in Auckland Hospital, undergoing assessment to see if he could go forward for a liver transplant.
The previous week had been enormously stressful, and he'd had a stint in ICU, but he'd rallied and we were all feeling rather chipper. All the extra fluid he'd been dragging around for months had been dialysed off and he looked and felt comparatively great.
His team of doctors sang Happy Birthday to him at morning rounds.
Kimberley had come up to stay with me for a bit, and we spent the morning racing around Auckland looking for a Happy Birthday banner. Martin's dad brought the cake, I think, and everyone who visited came with lollies or biscuits.
There's a photo, which I can't find now, of Kimberley guffawing at something stupid Martin was doing, while, behind her, a chap in the bed opposite Martin's is gurning in anguish as his transplanted kidney gives him enormous gyp. We were so used to hospitals by this point that we could switch off other people six feet away.
Anyway, that was six years ago today.
He's been on my mind lately, not just because of his birthday, but because his mum's not doing so well herself now. Sweeney and I spent some time with her on Sunday, and Sweeney told her about his cars and his train set.
Then there was a knees-up at Grandad O'Neill's house, with almost full contingent of O'Neill uncles and aunties. Good food, good fun.
In other news, Sweeney's friend Blessing came for a sleepover. There was pizza, chocolate biscuits, a looooooong bath, a kickaround at the end of the street with Frank and Arthur, inaugurating the train set etc ...
What nice boys.

1 comment:

Jill said...

I understand that kind of life you have when a loved one is very ill, in and out of hospital. I walked with my sister through the last years of her life. She died relatively young of a heart condition. Dr's wanted her to have a transplant but she refused. I had small children during that time and it's a strange existence living with grief and joy at the same time.
What is a "knees up"? And what cool names, Sweeney and Blessing!

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