It's a very long time since I last posted, for which I apologise, but a lot has happened this year and much if it has been very difficult. I will update you with all the happenings over time, but at the moment I need this space to write because I am in hospital whilst away from home.
I was on holiday. I had a brilliant week in Wales the week before last, then came across to Cambridge for a few days here. I managed a couple of days in the youth hostel and then ended up here in Addenbrooks. I'm on day seven of the admission now, but the first six days were in the Critical Care Unit. I am a lot better than I was, but still have a way to go before I can think about leaving hospital and then getting home to Newcastle.
Earlier today they moved a woman into the bed opposite me (here in the respiratory ward). Someone else was there before, but she was moved into a side room so that this woman could come in. That is a very usual practice, except that, in my opinion, this woman ought to have the side room. She is dying. Her family have been called in and they are taking it in turns to be with her in small groups. The curtain is pulled between her and the lady beside her who has the television on and distracting herself with the news. It is filling any silence there might be. The doctor is in the corridor with the rest of the family and giving them information about their relative's situation. The teenagers are crying. The young children are bemused. The adults are trying to stuff their emotions back behind their eyes and keep that typically British stiff upper lip. They talk to the woman, ask if she wants a drink or some yogurt, tell her to lift her head so they can move her pillow. They are trying to help her be more comfortable, and trying to help themselves feel in some way useful.
I don't want to watch this woman's death. I don't want it for me and I don't want it for her dignity. Everyone ought to have privacy and dignity in death, and this is too public.