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Wednesday’s child

Visiting HospitalHaving a bad day? Yes, but there’s always someone that’s worse off than you.

Missed your train? Annoying, but pity the poor guy that missed his flight connection and is delayed by a whole day rather than an hour or two.

Lost your wallet?
Yes, but your neighbour was burgled and had all of their most treasured possessions swiped.

Lost your job? Could be worse … you could be discriminated in some way or totally uneducated in the first place to get work.

Wife left you? Better to have loved, than to … ok, I won’t do that one, but you get the picture.

I had this ‘lecture’ from a friend of mine this morning, and I couldn’t help think what complete bollocks it was. Because ultimately that conversation can only lead to one thing … “Yes, but it could be worse … you could be dead”. Right? As that’s the extreme that it eventually ends up as. There is always someone, somewhere worse off than you having a hard time.

Which is why it’s all relative. The hard time that you’re having in the environment that you’re used to living I think is enough to justify why you’re pissed about sometime. And today I was pissed about something, and so I strutted round all day in the most miserable mood possible and didn’t smile all day. I was almost reveling in it.

Right up until about seven o’clock in the evening that is, when I got a text from someone informing me that a work colleague was in hospital, did I know that, and would I like to go and visit them to cheer them up?

Yes I would! As I know what it’s like to be visited when you’re in your sickbed. Even a few minutes from a friend totally brightens up your day.

On the downside though, I was in a wobbly enough mood as it was, and entering the psychedelic world of corridors with fluorescent lights, that clean smell that uniquely identifies a hospital in the western world, and having a whole bundle of nice people who are specifically there to make others better which I think is the most wonderful thing in the world was always going to tip me over the edge.

Ah – but I wanted my edge tipped, didn’t I? Yes I think I did. I know myself far to well by now to recognise that. Plus of course, it brought back the age-old dilemma of there being no such thing as an unselfish good deed.

Yes I knew it would cheer her up to go and see her, but was the ulterior motive really that I wanted to feel good about myself by doing a nice thing, and perhaps acknowledge that whilst my day may be shitty – I wasn’t the one lying in a hospital bed in a ridiculous gown, unable to eat or talk with a throat all bandaged up having recently had my thyroid cut out of it. Oh and the mild possibility of it being cancerous too, but not knowing for a while as it would take a few days to get the results back.

So I go do the visiting thing. Make all the right noises, ask questions that aren’t too personal, and even squeeze in a terrible pun when someone talks about anesthetics, and i say “Oh I never liked their single T99 anyway”. (Think about it).

Visiting hours end all too soon, and (no embarrassment in confessing this) with a tear in my eye, I trace my way back along the rabbit warren of corridors and signs to the exit, past the low hum of the vending machines, a ‘Goodnight’ from a porter pushing a trolley, failing on the urge not to tap a ‘this way’ sign hanging suspended from a low ceiling and eventually out into the fresh air to try and remember where the hell I’d parked my car and plotting already in my mind the perfect post-hospital drive-home-playlist on my iPod.

Take care Grace, and get well soon.

6 responses to “Wednesday’s child”

  1. Paul Leonard says:

    Great post Geoff. That really moved me! Hope your friend, Grace, gets better soon … and hope you snap out of your mood soon enough. Chin up and all that

  2. Fimb says:

    The next person, when I moan about the fact I am about to puke on my office floor, who tells me it will all be worth it in the end, will get a punch.. I know that, but at that precise moment, it doesn’t help..

    Hope the light gets brighter for you and your cloud passes though. I reccomend the upbeat, sing along type play lists for helping lift dark moods..

  3. […] Geoff: Right up until about seven o’clock in the evening that is, when I got a text from someone informing me that a work colleague was in hospital, did I know that, and would I like to go and visit them to cheer them up? […]

  4. Red says:

    It is all perspective no matter the situation. And no one can really give anyone else advice, because the only one who knows how you are feeling is you. I don’t know if there is a true unselfish deed, because like you said warm fuzzies abound when a nice thing is done for someone else. I find myself doing stuff for others all the time, because it makes me feel better about myself. Everyone wins. I know she appreciated the visit, and I am very glad that you got some warm fuzzies.

  5. Geoff's Mum says:

    Good for you Geoff to visit this sick person. It can be quite an eye-opener going into a hospital ward. We get stuck in our little ‘self’ bubble and can sometimes forget about the plight of others. It puts things into perspective How does the hospital compare to a UK NHS hospital, cleaner? better decorated? private rooms?

  6. Hi Geoff, always loved alternative maps on your site – I’d like to shamelessly plug my own!
    I have produced a Merseyrail map called Centre of the Universe for Liverpool’s Capital of Culture Year with all the area’s famous names on it.
    It’s official, licensed by Merseytravel and will shortly hang as public art on two of the city’s stations.
    It is on sale in the Liverpool area as bags, towels and prints and on the website
    You can also see press coverage at and enter ‘merseyrail’
    Not very ‘counter-culture’ I know, as it has official blessing, but there you go… sorry if Im in the wrong strand.

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