Jane Gor­don

Age un­known Mother, grand­mother and 24/7 child­min­der

The Sunday Telegraph - Stella - - MUM AND ME -

By day three on the trauma ward in the Royal Berk­shire Hos­pi­tal, I am al­most en­joy­ing my­self, hav­ing fi­nally stopped pos­tur­ing about ‘ the mean­ing of life in the face of a near-death ex­pe­ri­ence’ and (thank heavens) re­dis­cov­ered my sense of hu­mour.

In fact, there are mo­ments when I find my­self laugh­ing more than I have done in years. This is due, I think, to the way that a stay in hos­pi­tal (for those not suf­fer­ing from a se­ri­ous ill­ness) re­leases you from any sense of per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity. Tem­po­rar­ily un­able even to get out of bed, I am forced to give over ev­ery bor­ing daily task (apart from brush­ing my teeth) to the in­cred­i­bly kind med­i­cal and non-med­i­cal staff.

This help­less­ness, com­bined with the ca­ma­raderie I have es­tab­lished with the to­tally hi­lar­i­ous Donna and Claire (two of my ward-mates in bay C), at times causes me to gig­gle so child­ishly that I have to ring the bell for an emer­gency bed­pan.

I am also re­leased (re­gard­less of what Bry­ony might say) from my usual, rather piti­ful van­ity over things such as my hair and make-up – not to men­tion my, er, age. Since I am forced to give my date of birth ev­ery four hours – when the nurse ad­min­is­ters my med­i­ca­tion – I lose any sense of em­bar­rass­ment, par­tic­u­larly as it turns out that I am the third-youngest on the ward (OK, Elsie and Ada are, re­spec­tively, 93 and 97).

And while Naomi has brought in my cos­met­ics bag, there are no mir­rors – and even if there were, what can my High Im­pact mas­cara add to my postac­ci­dent ‘smoky’ black eyes?

Per­haps the most in­tox­i­cat­ing thing about be­ing bed-bound (apart, of course, from the mor­phine) is the way in which my fam­ily ral­lies round me. I feel loved, val­ued even, in a way I haven’t since my chil­dren were ador­ing tod­dlers.

My only worry, on day six when I am fi­nally able to walk to the loo and back on crutches, is how on earth I am go­ing to cope when I am dis­charged. How will I man­age when I am back home alone?

At times I gig­gle so child­ishly that I have to ring for an emer­gency bed­pan

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