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Headline in yesterday's Irish Times: "HSE backs closure of Navan emergency facility". This shitshow...


Last night the night nurse switched my iv bits from my left elbow to a vein on my right hand, my writing hand. I imagine a little drop of blood is sucked into the dangling vials each time I begin to write. I refuse to find a metaphor in this image.


Steroids apparently impede sleep. I must have had 2.5 hours of shuteye. It doesn't help that my corridor bed is right under a box that keeps beeping with requests for bed help. Another restless old woman, this time looking for "two things" she has brought but cannot find, which she needs on her person to sleep, but she cannot describe these items clearly enough. "I brought these two things. I took a taxi..." Then she trails off. After a few minutes she will start again: "these two things..." Hours pass like this, until she is, I think, sedated. At this time of night the nurses are taciturn and remote, yet kind, like angels.


At mid-morning an unseen nurse raps on the bed railing behind me as I write notes. "Don't you be listening to us!" She laughs. I'm not, I respond. I'm not lying. I've become insular in my grogginess and stomach pangs, another effect of the steroids.

Still I listen: busy hands, shuffling slippered feet, clacking walkers, wheeled beds (sometimes occupied), rustling bags, murmurs, orders, brisk consultations, banter, laughter, humming, sometimes singing. This is for the bowels, this is for the heart, this is for the mind.


I am on page 76 of Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson, my second favourite sci-fi author after Ursula K. Le Guin. Freya, born on a intergenerational spaceship, is on her wanderjahr, travelling from biome to biome, working and asking questions, getting to know people until she is much loved.

As a consequence, she starts to hold back because she knows she cannot stay: "she avoided throwing herself into the lives of these people as if she was going to become family and stay there forever. She told Badim that she had learned that when the time came to move on, it would hurt not just her, but the people she had come to know."

"[Her father] said the kind of hurt she was talking about was not a bad hurt, and should not be avoided. 'You get what you give, and not only that, the giving is already the getting. So don't hold back. Don't look back or forward too much. Just be there where you are now. You're always only in the day you're in."


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