One of the blogs I have recently started to follow is The Kitchens Garden from Cecilia, a New Zealander now happily living in the US. Her post today brought back memories of another time and place in my life.
Haven’t we all had a “Stop the world I want to get off” moment at some time in our lives? Well, mine was some 26 years ago – way back in 1986. It was a beautiful summer morning a couple of weeks before Christmas in Blenheim in the South Island of New Zealand. My dashing (well by then not so dashing or so young) young Scotsman was in hospital recovering from a burst, undiagnosed duodenal ulcer.
As was my wont, I arrived at the hospital shortly after 8am to be greeted by the nurses with a strained smile. By this time we were all on first-name terms as he had been in the hospital for some six weeks, and I thought their strained greetings very odd. I was also concerned because a couple of days before when I arrived, my husband wasn’t in his room and I discovered that they had punctured a lung while carrying out some procedure or other. Of course, at the time, I did know what the procedure was but it has taken itself off with so many other things over time.
Well, when I arrived at his room husband was sitting up in bed reading the daily newspaper. He too looked a little strained as I came in and so I asked the reason. His response, after telling me to take a seat, was that our son had been admitted to hospital the night before with appendicitis. As we hadn’t a phone at the time (see Paradise, Phones and Phrustration) my son’s girlfriend had called the hospital to pass on the news.
Now in other circumstances, I would have taken this in my stride. But just then… Not only was my darling in hospital in the South Island of New Zealand, but my Mother was in hospital in London, England and my Father in Law was in hospital in Dunoon in Scotland. And now my son was in hospital in Wellington in the North Island of New Zealand.
That was really a “Stop The World” moment for me. Fortunately, my son’s operation was straight forward and he was released on the same day as my husband was released from hospital. And as my daughter had arrived home from London having been summoned by her brother, we managed a happy Christmas with the whole family in one place.
“Said Mr. Smith, “I really cannot
Tell you, Dr. Jones—
The most peculiar pain I’m in—
I think it’s in my bones.
Said Dr. Jones, “Oh, Mr. Smith,
That’s nothing. Without doubt
We have a simple cure for that;
It is to take them out…..”
From Bones by Walter de la Mare
1873 – 1956 English poet, short story writer
And now I am off to a mid-winter Christmas dinner. Well it’s hard to take the turkey, ham and all the trimmings on a brilliant summer day.
Happy Christmas to you all