Afternoon Delights

It has been five weeks since I was admitted to the hospital and underwent life-saving surgery. I have no recollection of the first week, as much of it was spent in an induced coma. The following I was frequently heavily sedated, and my memories of that time also remain somewhat cloudy.

However, I do recall a Sunday afternoon during that period when a woman entered my room, her presence accompanied by the gentle strumming of a guitar. Although the specifics of the song escape me, the poignant lyrics moved me to tears. Despite my inability to speak or move, I managed to part my lips enough to silently mouth the words “thank you.”

While it’s possible that she has visited the hospital since that first time, today marked the first time I laid eyes on her again. I now reside in a different room and found myself more awake and alert than before.

“Would you mind if I perform an original song?” she asked today. “Of course, please go ahead,” I replied. And so, she began to sing “Juanita… Juanita… where are you to be found?.” After a short while, I realized that the song told the story of Juanita Nielsen, an environmental advocate from Kings Cross who mysteriously vanished (presumed murdered) in the 1970s.

Her name is Catherine. I am uncertain if she is a hospital employee or volunteers her time. Either way, it’s something to be encouraged, as it really brought some joy into my life today, and hopefully others.

Being more present today, I took the opportunity to express my appreciation with a proper round of applause.

Sunday afternoon hospital singer.

Hospitals often exude a lifeless ambiance with their white and beige walls, medical signage, and unremarkable artwork.

Yet, amid these sterile surroundings, we experience moments of happiness through interactions with fellow patients and staff.

The art on the hospital walls is pretty unremarkable, quite generic. Though I loved these pieces from Balmain Public School donated to the hospital.

Over the weekend, I’ve also received some welcome guests. “We thought we’d drop by for a visit on Sunday evening when it might be quieter for visitors,” one of them explained. Another friend mentioned she “happened to be passing by and decided to stop in.”

Today also featured a delightful moment when a group of friends organised a video call. The last time we did that was in the early days of COVID, when many of the group struggled with the “new technology”.

Remote hospital visitors.

The week ahead holds excitement on both physical and emotional fronts.

Today’s session at the gym drew praise from the weekend physiotherapist who observed a significant improvement from the previous week in my abilities and strength.

Emotionally, anticipation is building as some of my family plans to visit next weekend, traveling from Lismore.

The upcoming days promise significant events. A visit to my apartment, accompanied by an occupational therapist, is scheduled for Friday to assess my needs for returning home. On Saturday, I’ve been granted a “day pass” by my doctor, allowing me to leave the hospital temporarily. In the nearby vicinity, we plan to enjoy a leisurely lunch and a long overdue haircut.

2 Replies to “Afternoon Delights”

  1. I would think the woman is a volunteer and what a great thing to do. A friend was once a hospital visitor who would take her dog with her, as others did, and the patients loved the animal company.

    Enjoy your time out and lunch.

  2. Meanwhile, the art collection on the walls leaves little to be desired. All very dark in colour and theme. Very generic. My favourites are actually the pieces by students from Balmain Primary School

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