I am home. For the second time. I went back to hospital by ambulance in the middle of the night. Fever, palpitations. Paramedics were young, skinny, wide-eyed, full of passion and dedication. And that is what I saw over and over in hospital. People with a passion, tough yet delicate. They dream, they hope, they do really care. When you are a patient in hospital, very quickly you lose your dignity, you do things that you would not dare do in the presence of your most intimate partner. But the dignity you lose, is it very important? We are there with a different form of dignity, that of getting better, it doesn' matter much that we make funny noises, that we smell funny, that we have a rather unappealing shade of green to our complexion. Your values change so quickly, your priorities, your tolerance. An old guy called Patrick, full of tattoos and bruises was parked outside my door. He wanted to go home. There was only one problem: nobody knew where his home was. He had some form of dementia, yet he was there, now part of my life. The pretty nurses with their wide eyes, smooth faces and hours of unrelenting work were telling him that everything was okay, the ambulance was coming, he would be home soon. "All I need is a pound for the bus", he replied.
I cried at some point, waiting for tests, x-rays. But I cried because I was lying on my back, and I don't like lying on my back. I had faith that everything else, the important stuff, would be looked after. This morning, having regained enough strength to even make my cup of coffee and ponder upon puzzles like, how do you carry a cup of coffee with two crutches? I sat again at my computer to resume my surfing, fidgeting, faffing life. And I came across, by total coincidence, some footage of Frida Khalo painting in hospital. She looked gorgeous in her amazing clothes, perfect hair, jewellery. I felt a pang of envy, or probably just a great deal of admiration. Because she never lost her spirit. Ever. She was always a work of art. And I want to do the same. Out of this simple but intense operation, I want to create beauty, to spread beauty.
And also, as a footnote, to those of you who complain about the NHS: they are pretty good.